BOSTON — A federal judge in Massachusetts on July 3 granted motions to dismiss filed by a law firm and a mortgage trustee and loan servicer after finding that a man failed to sufficiently allege that the defendants acted wrongfully when foreclosing on his home (William L. Hutchinson v. Bank of America, N.A., et al., No. 18-12443-LTS, D. Mass., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 111090).
CINCINNATI — A Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on July 2 upheld a ruling awarding summary judgment to a lender and loan servicer after holding that a federal judge in Tennessee did not err when finding that a letter from the loan servicer did not violate the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and that the plaintiffs failed to offer any newly discovered evidence to warrant amending or altering the decision (Yvette Woody, et al. v. Aurora Commercial Corp., et al., No. 18-5707, 6th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 19764).
RICHMOND, Va. — A federal judge in Virginia on June 11 refused to remand a man’s lawsuit against his mortgage lender and a substitute trustee, finding that the substitute trustee was fraudulently joined as a defendant because it had not yet initiated foreclosure proceedings against the plaintiff (Joseph O’Carroll III v. JP Morgan Chase Bank N.A., et al., No. 19-cv-115, E.D. Va., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 98437).
OPELIKA, Ala. — A federal judge in Alabama on June 20 denied a woman’s motion to remand her fraud and breach of contract lawsuit against Bank of America N.A. and Nationstar Mortgage LLC, doing business as Mr. Cooper, finding that she is seeking damages in excess of the $75,000 jurisdictional threshold because her home has an appraised value of $88,501 (Lavelle Parmer v. Bank of America N.A., et al., No. 19-CV-265-WKW, M.D. Ala., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 102973).
SAN FRANCISCO — A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on June 5 upheld a federal judge in California’s ruling barring an expert from proffering testimony in support of the criminal lender defense, holding that any error in the decision was harmless (United States v. Vera Kuzmenko, et al., Nos. 16-10129, 16-10419, 9th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 16938).
SEATTLE — A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on June 4 affirmed a federal judge in Washington’s ruling awarding summary judgment to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., the receiver for Washington Mutual Bank N.A. (WaMu), finding that a woman failed to present evidence showing that she did not receive disclosures required by the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) when she closed on her mortgage loan (Diana Nichols v. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, No. 17-35556, 9th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 16791).
ORLANDO, Fla. — A federal judge in Florida on June 28 dismissed without prejudice a woman’s class action lawsuit accusing LoanDepot.com of violating the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (FDUTPA) when offering her a forbearance plan on her mortgage loan, finding that the plaintiff’s allegations were based on a conversation that was never documented (Eva Roman v. Loandepot.com, No. 18-cv-1710-Orl-31TBS, M.D. Fla., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 108289).
BOSTON — In addressing a matter of first impression, a First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on June 26 ruled that the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) is a government instrumentality that is shielded from vicarious liability for the unauthorized acts of its agents pursuant to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Fed. Crop Ins. Co. v. Merrill, 332 U.S. 380 (1947), known as the Merrill doctrine (Ralph Faiella v. Federal National Mortgage Association, No. 18-1063, 1st Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 19083).
NEW ORLEANS — A Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on June 26 denied a Texas couple’s request to reopen their action accusing a lender of violating the Texas Constitution by conducting loan closing proceedings in their home, holding that the plaintiffs were unable to show an extraordinary circumstance under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b)(6) (John Priester Jr., et al. v. JP Morgan Chase Bank N.A., et al., No. 18-40127, 5th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 19059).
RIVERSIDE, Calif. — A federal judge in California granted preliminary approval of a $2.4 million to be paid by a bank and mortgage company to end a class complaint accusing them of placing calls for mortgage servicing or debt collection purposes in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) (Saber Ahmed, et al. v. HSBC Bank USA, et al., No. 15-2057, C.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 104401).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A borrower on June 3 filed a petition for writ of certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing that the doctrine established in Rookerv. Fidelity Trust Co., 263 U.S. 413 (1923), and District of Columbia Court of Appeals v. Feldman, 460 U.S. 462 (1983), prevented a federal court from holding that a state court’s default judgment for quiet title was void (Timothy J. Johnston v. Mortgage Elec. Registration Sys., No. 18-1532, U.S. Sup., LEXIS 2121).
PHILADELPHIA — Finding a lawsuit brought by homeowners to be untimely, the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 19 upheld the dismissal of homeowners’ claims for violations of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) and unjust enrichment in their putative class action alleging a captive reinsurance scheme between banks and an affiliated reinsurer (Christopher Blake, et al. v. JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., et al., No. 18-2368, 3rd Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 18370).
DETROIT — After mediation and settlement of a lawsuit in which the U.S. government alleged that Quicken Loans Inc. violated the False Claims Act by knowingly approving loans that violated Federal Housing Administration rules, a judge in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan entered an order dismissing the case (United States v. Quicken Loans Inc., No. 15-0613, E.D. Mich.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on June 17 declined to hear a petition for writ of certiorari filed by a borrower who sought review of a district court’s decision that he was prohibited from asserting that a mortgage company violated an automatic bankruptcy stay because he failed to adequately disclose his assets in bankruptcy court (Mark Anthony Fornesa, et al. v. Fifth Third Mortgage Co., No. 18-1339, U.S. Sup.).
INDIANAPOLIS — The U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Indiana filed a complaint and proposed settlement agreement in an Indiana federal court, alleging that a bank engaged in discriminatory lending practices and requiring it to invest approximately $1.62 million in a loan subsidy fund to increase credit opportunities for residents in predominantly African-American neighborhoods and toward community outreach, and other corrective actions (United States v. First Merchants Bank, No. 1:19-cv-02365, S.D. Ind.).
SAN FRANCISCO — After holding that borrowers’ claims for violation of California’s unfair competition law (UCL) and breach of contract were preempted by the Home Owners' Loan Act (HOLA), a California federal judge on June 11 granted a bank’s converted summary judgment motion and dismissed the claims (Lowell and Gina Smith, et al. v. Flagstar Bank, FSB, No. 18-05131, N.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 98196).
SAN FRANCISCO — A California federal judge on June 3 dismissed certain class action claims asserted by borrowers against a bank in relation to its failure to provide them with loan modifications but held that they sufficiently stated claims for violations of California’s Homeowners Bill of Rights (HBOR) and unfair competition law (UCL) (Alicia Hernandez, et al. v. Wells Fargo & Company, et al., No. 18-07354, N.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 93529).
CHICAGO — After holding that a bank had possession of a promissory note and had standing to pursue a foreclosure action, the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 4 affirmed a decision entering summary and foreclosure judgments against a borrower (J.P. Morgan Chase Bank, N.A. v. Lindsay Jenkins, No. 18-3607, 7th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 16693).
CHICAGO — After holding that a law firm pursued a foreclosure and deficiency judgment action against borrowers that was prohibited by state law, a federal judge in Illinois on June 3 granted summary judgment for the borrowers on their claims for violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and denied summary judgment for the firm on the affirmative defense that it was shielded from liability by the FDCPA’s bona fide error defense (John G. Tevere, et al. v. Weltman, Weinberg & Reis, Co., L.P.A., No. 1:17-cv-2455, N.D. Ill., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 92738).
LOS ANGELES — Borrowers on May 24 sued a loan servicer and trustee in a California court, asserting claims for violations of the Truth In Lending Act (TILA), California’s unfair competition law (UCL) and other claims related to the handling of their loan modification application and the assignment of their loan (Ilanit Shoshan, et al. v. Bayview Loan Service LLC, et al., No. 19VECV00738, Calif. Super., Los Angeles Co.).