SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A federal judge in California on Aug. 22 denied a motion to dismiss the city of Sacramento’s lawsuit accusing Wells Fargo & Co. and Wells Fargo Bank N.A. of engaging in discriminatory lending, finding that the city sufficiently stated claims against the lender and that it should be allowed to amend its claim that it suffered lost revenue from the increased expenditure on municipal services as a result of the lender’s actions (Sacramento v. Wells Fargo & Co., et al, No. 18-cv-00416, E.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 143296).
ATLANTA — An 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Aug. 21 affirmed the dismissal of a couple’s wrongful foreclosure suit against their mortgage lender, holding that the complaint failed to sufficiently allege a causal connection between the lender’s conduct and an injury (Leanne Robinson, et al. v. SunTrust Mortgage Inc., et al., No. 18-13650, 11th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 24854).
TOPEKA, Kan. — A federal judge in Kansas on Aug. 13 barred a couple’s expert’s opinions regarding the legality of prepayment penalties under Kanas law and usurious interest rates, holding that the testimony is no longer relevant to their claims against a lender who refinanced the mortgage on their home (Randall A. Schneider, et al. v. CitiMortgage Inc., et al., No. 13-cv-4094-HLT, D. Kan., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 136250).
SEATTLE — A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Aug. 15 upheld a ruling awarding summary judgment to Chase Home Finance LLC (CHF), finding that a federal judge did not err when finding that a man’s loan was a residential mortgage transaction that could not be rescinded pursuant to the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) (Timothy Barnes v. Chase Home Finance LLC, et al., No. 18-35616, 9th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 24171).
INDIANAPOLIS — A federal judge in Indiana on Aug. 12 formally approved a settlement between the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and First Merchants Bank to resolve allegations that the lender engaged in discriminatory lending practices in predominantly African-American neighborhoods in Indianapolis, holding that the terms of the agreement are reasonable and fair (United States v. First Merchants Bank, No. 1:19-cv-02365, S.D. Ind., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 135703).
NEW ORLEANS — A Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Aug. 15 affirmed a ruling awarding a borrower summary judgment on her quiet title claim against the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. (Freddie Mac), after finding that it was not entitled to contractual subrogation on a loan it obtained from another lender that did not comply with the Texas Constitution because the lender did not sign a form that stated the home’s fair market value (Sylvia Zepeda v. Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp., No. 18-20336, 5th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 24330).
TRENTON, N.J. — The filed-rate doctrine precludes homeowners’ claims against a reinsurance broker, an insurer and a mortgage company over alleged violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act based on a lender-placed insurance (LPI) scheme involving kickbacks, including reinsurance premiums, a New Jersey federal judge ruled Aug. 15 (Edward Leo v. Nationstar Mortgage LLC of Delaware, et al., No. 17-05839, D. N.J., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 137824).
NEW ORLEANS — The Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 8 affirmed the allowance of expert testimony in a mortgage fraud case that resulted in a nearly $300 million judgment against a businessman and his companies after finding that the trial judge properly vetted the experts’ opinions and sufficiently explained his rationale for doing so (United States v. Jim C. Hodge, et al., No. 17-20720, 5th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 23715).
CHICAGO — A Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Aug. 9 affirmed a federal judge in Illinois’ ruling finding an attorney liable for his role in a mortgage fraud scheme, holding that the Illinois LLC Act did not shield him from liability because he was aware that the loan applications he was handling contained misrepresentations and that they were submitted on behalf of straw buyers (Fifth Third Mortgage Co. v. Ira Kaufman, No. 18-3295, 7th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 23807).
NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — A federal judge in Virginia on Aug. 9 dismissed a woman’s lawsuit accusing her loan servicer and loan trustee of breaching the terms of a deed of trust by foreclosing on her home before she was given a loan modification, finding that the mortgage regulations the defendants are accused of violating were not in place when the woman obtained her loan in 2006 (Tonja Dupree v. Fay Servicing LLC, et al., No. 19cv51, E.D. Va., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 134807).
LAREDO, Texas — A federal judge in Texas on Aug. 12 awarded summary judgment to U.S. Bank N.A., after finding that its foreclosure action against a couple was timely because it was filed within three years of notifying the couple that it intended to accelerate on the loan (U.S. Bank N.A. v. Oscar N. Lightner, No. 17-cv-103, S.D. Texas, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 135632).
LOS ANGELES — A California appeals panel on Aug. 5 affirmed a lower court’s dismissal of a homeowner’s negligence, intentional inflection of emotional distress and unfair competition law claims against his lender, finding that the lender did not owe the borrower a duty in tort during his mortgage modification negotiations (Kwang K. Sheen v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., No. B289003, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., Div. 8, 2019 Cal. App. LEXIS 714).
ATLANTA — A three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 30 vacated a federal judge in Florida’s ruling that the city of Miami Gardens failed to show that Wells Fargo & Co. and Wells Fargo Bank violated the Fair Housing Act by engaging in discriminatory lending practices in Latino and African-American neighborhoods and held that the city lacked standing to bring its suit because it did not have standing under Article III of the U.S. Constitution (City of Miami Gardens v. Wells Fargo & Co., et al., No. 18-13152, 11th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 22570).
DENVER — A federal judge in Colorado’s ruling awarding summary judgment to Bank of America N.A. (BANA) in a foreclosure action was affirmed July 31 by a 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel that overruled a man’s argument that the lender’s 2017 attempt to foreclose on his property was untimely because the date of acceleration of the loan triggers the statute of limitations (Troy D. Paggen v. Bank of America N.A., et al., No. 18-1390, 10th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 22699).
BOSTON — The First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on July 29 denied as moot JPMorgan Chase Bank N.A.’s petition for a rehearing of ruling that its default and acceleration notice to a couple regarding the foreclosure on their home was inaccurate after the federal appeals court vacated its February decision and certified to the Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) of Massachusetts a question on whether an inaccurate or deceptive notice voids the subsequent foreclosure sale (Mark R. Thompson, et al. v. JPMorgan Chase Bank N.A., No. 18-1559, 1st Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 22507).
NEW ORLEANS — A Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Aug. 6 affirmed the dismissal of an estate’s lawsuit that sought to obtain insurance proceeds for flood damages to a home from the mortgage lenders on the property, holding that the security instrument on the mortgage note states that the proceeds would be released only once the necessary repairs are made (Estate of Bonell Rashti v. Bank of America, N.A., et al., No. 18-20539, 5th Cir.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on Aug. 5 denied a borrower’s petition for rehearing as to whether it should review a federal judge’s ruling allowing a lender to foreclose on a property during bankruptcy proceedings (Mark Anthony Fornesa, et al. v. Fifth Third Mortgage Co., No. 18-1339, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Justice announced July 30 that it had reached a settlement with three California loan modification companies, their principals and a law firm for allegedly convincing 400 Hispanic homeowners to pay $5,000 for unnecessary loan audits they were told were needed to obtain home loan modifications.
RICHMOND, Va. — The Consumer Financial Protection Board (CFPB) on Aug. 2 filed an amicus curiae brief in the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in support of a borrower who claims that a federal judge in Virginia erred in dismissing his class action suit accusing his loan servicer of violating the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) when failing to pay his property taxes, explaining that a loan servicer’s obligations to pay a borrower’s property taxes do not depend on when the borrower paid the funds into an escrow account (Rodney W. Harrell v. Freedom Mortgage Corp., No. 19-1379, 4th Cir.).
NEW YORK — A Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on July 22 reversed and remanded part of a federal judge in New York’s ruling dismissing a man’s Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) lawsuit against a law firm, finding that the plaintiff could have sufficiently stated a claim that the firm used a deceptive representation and/or an unconscionable means to collect payment on his mortgage (Gregory Hayles v. Aspen Properties Group LLC, et al., No. 18-2683, 2nd Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 21647).