Thanks to April Charney of Jacksonville FL legal aid for compiling this list of cases were borrowers prevailed in mortgage and credit related cases and recived damage awards. The California list is surprisingly short and does not include any recent decisions. This is a lesson to borrowers who expect a free house or massive damage award. Don’t believe the hype pushed by scam law firms and foreclosure predators. Saving a home can be a challenge that hinges on the specific facts and circumstances of the homeowner in financial distress.
NATIONAL MORTGAGE AND CREDIT CASES WHERE BORROWERS RECEIVED DAMAGES:
Brash v. PHH District GA 2011 (1 million compensatory damates, only $575.00 in out of pocket damages, 20 million in punitive damages.
Conseco Servicing Corp. v. Carlson, Judgment on counter claim of defendant for $3.5 million. Conseco had sued defendant on a $500 debt that was not his debt. No. CJ-00-227, Oklahoma State District Court, Creek County 2002.
Yazzie v. Farrell & Seldin New Mexico July 29, 2011, $1.26 Million (161,000 noneconomic punitive 1.1 million) collection against wrong debtor, No. 10-CV-292 BB/LFG (D.N.Mex. 2011). Actual out of pocket expenses $20.
Fausto v Credigy $500,000 ($50,000 compensatory for each plaintiff and $400,000 in punitives ), No. C 07-05658 JW (N.D.Calf.) on April 3, 2009.
McCollough v. Johnson Rodenberg & Lauinger, $311,000 (250,000 mental anguish and $60,000 punitive damages), 645 F.Supp 2d 917 (D.Mont. 2009).
Household Credit Services v. Discol, 989 S.W. 2d 72 (Tex. App..-El Paso 1998). $11 Million judgment for consumer.
Eastham v. Nationwide Mut Ins. Co. 66 Ohio App 3d 843 (Ohio App1 1990) expert testimony not required as it “is a matter of common knowledge that continued harassment regarding unpaid medical bills may make an individual nervous and may aggravate a pre-existing heart condition”
Ed and Lora Eastham presented evidence of their costs in this case including expenses incurred in collecting the $51,000 from Nationwide under the insurance policy, attorney fees, and lost interest. In addition, they testified as to their humiliation, embarrassment, nervousness, and loss of self-worth while being harassed by collectors about bills that they were unable to pay. Based on this evidence, the jury awarded Ed and Lora Eastham $425,000 in compensatory damages. The trial court then denied Nationwide’s motion for a new trial based upon the amount of compensatory damages awarded by the jury.”
Also, look at the case law after the verdict list posted on this list a few months ago regarding noneconomic damages for foreclosure.
Household Credit Services, Inc. v. Driscol, 989 S.W.2nd 72 (Tex.App—El Paso 1998). Awarding $11million in damages.
Greenpoint Credit Corp v. Perez, 2002 Tex. App. LEXIS 263 (Tex. App (2002) – $5M in compensation for abusive collection practices towards an elderly plaintiff who suffered fear, embarrassment, very painful skin eruptions, heart palpitations, elevated blood pressure; $2M for future suffering
Bach v. First Union National Bank, unpublished, No. 04-3899 (6th Cir. 2005) appeal from Jury verdict from S.D. Ohio awarding $400,000.00 in compensatory damages for emotional distress and 2.6 million in punitive damages. Compensatory damages affirmed. Remanded for rehearing on punitive damages.
Boris v. Choicepoint,WL 1255891 (W.D. KY. March 14, 2003) $100,000.00 in actual damages based on humiliation mental distress and embarrassment held appropriate;
Shoup v. Illiana Recovery Sys. Inc., 2002 US Dist LEXIS 674 (WD Mich 2002)(Default judgment award $12,500 for mental distress, $10,000 to father, $5000. to mother for emotional distress).
Boyce v. Atty’s Dispatch Serv., 1999 US Dist. LEXIS 12970(S.D. Oh 1999)(Default judgment $10,000 awarded to newlywed couple for nausea and sleeplessness)
Morris v. Credit Bureau, 563 F.Supp.962 (S.D. Ohio. 1983) $10,000 for stress, anxiety, humiliation, injury to his work, his reputation his sense of well being;
Bryant v. TRW Inc, 689 F.2d 72 (6th Cir.1982) $8000.00 for embarrassment and humiliation, atty’s fees $13,705;
Collins v. Retail Credit Co., 410 F.Supp. 924 (E.D. Mich. 1976) $21,750 for loss of reputation, embarrassment, $50,000.00 in punitive damages and 21,000 in atty’s fees;
Adams v Phillips, 2002 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 24888 (E.D. LA 2002) ($225,000 actual damages and $275,000 punitive damages based upon general and economic
Ayers v. v. Experian, Case Number 3:03cv1048 (E.D. VA 2004)(Judgment taken on offer of judgment $95,000 for claimed damages of emotional distress and mortgage denial under 15 U.S.C. 1681e(b));
Bell v. May Department Stores (Missouri 2000, jury award $50,000 actual damages);
Brown v. Experian, (D. Conn. April 16, 2004) ($50,000 jury verdict for emotional distress damages and lost credit in reinvestigation case under 15U.S.C. Â§1681i defended by Jones Day);
Guimond v. Trans Union, 45 F.3d 1329 (9th Cir. 1995) (jury awarded $275,000 for humiliation and mental distress damages available under FCRA following remand);
Kirkpatrick v. Equifax (Jury award of $210,000, D, OR January 2005).
Johnson v. MBNA (D. Va. 2002) (jury award of $90,300 for emotional distress and damage to reputation sustained against credit furnisher MBNA for negligent investigation of consumer’s dispute in violation of FCRA section 1681s-2(b) trial and appeal by Len Bennett, appeal reported at 357 F.3d 426 (4th Cir.2004);
Jorgenson v Experian (D. Ore. No. 96-286-JE) (jury awarded $600,000 actual damages in 1998; court added $200,000 fees and costs in theft of identity
Jones v. Credit Bureau of Huntington, Inc., 399 S.E.2d 694 (W. Va. 1990)($4,000 even though erroneous credit report was corrected one week after publication; verdict was sustainable as humiliation, emotional distress, or injury to reputation or credit rating.);
McGowan v. Warner, Alabama (CV 9503310, 1999) jury awarded $1.85 million to theft of identity victim against non credit bureaus);
Milgram v. Advanced Cellular Systems, Inc., 1990 WL 116322 (E.D. Pa. 1990) (jury award of $20,000 for credit damage, $20,224 in attorney’s fees);
Mills v. NationsBank (Florida, 1999) (Jury award $140,000 actual and $300,000 punitive damages for false credit reports);
Northrop v. Hoffman of Simsbury, Inc., 6 Conn. Ops. 447 (Apr. 24, 2000) (jury verdict of $100,000 in compensatory damages and $500,000 in punitives remitted by Chief Judge Covello to $125,000 for punitives, no compensatory).
Phillips v. David McDermott Chevrolet, Inc., 1992 WL 67374 (Conn. Super.1992)($5,000 for credit rating damage)
Pinner v Schmidt, 617 F. Supp. 342 (E.D. La. 1985), 805 F.2d 1258 (5th Cir.1991)($100,000 actual and $100,000 punitive remitted to $25,000 actual);
Soghomonian v. Trans Union, (N.D Ca 2004)($330,000 actual damages and $660,000 punitive damages);
Stevenson v. TRW, 987 F.2d 288 (5th Cir. 1993) ($30,000 in mental anguish and embarrassment damages, plus $20,700 in attorney’s fees);
Thomas v. Trans Union, (D. Or. 2002) tried in Oregon. In 2002, the jury
awarded $5 million punitive, $300,000 actual damage for emotional distress.
Judge remitted the punitive to $1million with $100,000 fees.
Thompson v. Equifax, (Ala. 2002) (jury award $80,000);
Thompson v. San Antonio Retail Merchants Ass’n, 682 F.2d 509 (5th Cir. 1982)($10,000 actual damages for humiliation and mental distress even when no out-of-pocket expenses);
Trans Union Corp. v. Crisp, 896 S.W. 2d 446 (Ark. App. 1995) ($15,000 compensatory damages, $25,000 punitive damages).
Wenger v. Trans Union (Cal. jury award of actual damages of $200,000).
Zamora v. Valley Fed. S&L Ass’n, 811 F.2d 1368 (10th Cir. 1987) ($61,500 in actual damages for emotion distress sustained based on impermissible access of consumer report under false pretenses);
Zotta v. Nations Credit, Case No: 4:02-CV-1650 (E.D. MO 2004)(Jury verdict against furnisher under 15 U.S.C. Â§ 1681s-2b for $87,000 on claims for emotional distressassociated with negligent noncompliance with 15 U.S.C. Â§ 1681s-2(b)).
The Plaintiff seeks punitive damages which are unliquidated in this matter based upon the factors set forth in Mathias v. Accor Economy Lodging, Inc., 347 F.3d 672 (7th Cir. 2004). Punitive damages will be proven through the Plaintiff’s testimony and through the testimony of the employees of the Defendant against whom such damages are sought.
Case Law Supporting Punitive Damages.
Such damages are expected to fall within the general range of those cases outlined below dealing with punitive damages in consumer credit cases.
Soghomonian v. Trans Union, (N.D Ca 2004)($330,000 actual damages and $660,000 punitive damages).
Boris v. Choicepoint Servs., Inc.,WL 1255891 (W.D. Ky. Mar. 14, 2003)
($250,000 in punitive damages award was appropriate under FCRA);
Thomas v. Trans Union, (D. Or. 2002) ($5 million for punitive damages,
remitted to $1 million);
Conseco Finance Servicing Corp. v. Carlson, District Court, Creek County, Sapulpa Division, State of Oklahoma, No. CJ-00-227, Feb. 14, 2002 (jury award of $1.35 million; $450,000 in actual damages for emotional distress and $900,000.00 in punitive damages);
Jones v. Credit Bureau of Huntington, Inc., 399 S.E.2d 694 (W. Va. 1990) (jury award of $4,000 compensatory, $42,500 punitive upheld);
Thorton v. Equifax Inc., 467 F. Supp. 1008 (E.D. Ark. 1979) ($5,000 compensatory and $250,000 in punitive damages).
Yohay v. City of Alexandria Employees Credit Union, 827 F.2d 967 (4th Cir. 1987) (punitive damages $10,000; fees and costs over $33,000 in case
involving impermissible access of consumer reports under false pretenses);
Pinner v Schmidt, 617 F. Supp. 342 (E.D. La. 1985), 805 F.2d 1258 (5th Cir. 1991) ($100,000 actual and $100,00 punitive remitted to $25,000 actual);
Stevenson v. TRW, Inc., 978 F.2d 288 (5th Cir. 1993) ($30,000 mental anguish and embarrassment, $20,700 fees; appellate court remitted $100,000 punitives);
Trans Union Corp. v. Crisp, 896 S.W. 2d 446 (Ark. App. 1995) ($15,000
compensatory damages, $25,000 punitive damages).
Significant damage awards in other mortgage fraud cases around the country have been based on emotional distress damages. See, e.g., Hoffman v. Stamper, 867 A.2d 276, 298 (Md. 2005) (overturning uniform emotional distress awards of $145,000 each absent proof of physical manifestation); Vasquez-Lopez v. Beneficial Oregon, Inc., 210 Ore. App. 553, 582 (Or. Ct. App. 2007) ($5,000 each), McGlawn v. Pa. Human Rels. Comm’n, 891 A.2d 757, 777 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 2006), appeal denied by 906 A.2d 545, (Pa. 2006) (awards of $15,000 to $25,000 for complainants in reverse redlining case); Wright v. Litton Loan Servicing LP, 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 15691 (E.D. Pa., April 4, 2006) ($25,000 in loan servicing case brought under RESPA);Boone v. Bownes, Civ. Action No. 02-143-MJR (S.D. Ill., Aug. 26, 2005) ($50,000 in emotional distress damages).
Foreclosure or the prospect of foreclosure is almost per se an emotional harm. Cf. Parks v. Wells Fargo Home Mortg., Inc., 398 F.3d 937, 941 (7th Cir. 2005)(denying emotional distress damages because no independent tort, only a breach of contract, but noting, “We have no doubt that anyone would suffer emotional harm from losing his or her home, or even from facing such a possibility.”); Matthews v. Homecoming Fin. Network, 2005 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 21535 (N.D. Ill. 2005) (foreclosure without cause sufficient basis for intentional infliction of emotional distress claim); Johnstone v. Bank of Am., N.A., 173 F. Supp. 2d 809 (N.D. Ill. 2001)(possibility of foreclosure sufficient to state emotional distress damages and survive motion to dismiss RESPA claim); Stafford v. Puro, 63 F.3d 1436, 1442 (7th Cir. 1995) ($100,000 in emotional distress damages to wrongfully terminated employee supported by loss of home in foreclosure, ruined credit, as well as physical symptoms including spastic colon and high blood pressure); Peeler v. Kingston Mines, 862 F.2d 135, 136 (7th Cir. 1988) ($50,000 in emotional distress damages in retaliatory discharge supported by homelessness and reliance on charity care to pay bills; physical symptoms included high blood pressure and difficulty sleeping). The likelihood of foreclosure from these loans and the devastating personal impact of foreclosure should be enough to demonstrate both outrageous conduct and knowledge that severe emotional distress is likely to result.
Reed & Mary Ann Fisher v. Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, Case No. RCV 074 822, San Bernardino Superior Court, Rancho Cucamonga, CA. (2009) $1.05 million in damages, fees and cost for false credit reporting. http://www.dailyrosetta.com/california-court-of-appeals-orders-wells-fargo-to-pay-over-500000-for-false-credit-reporting-and-violation-of-the-fair-credit-reporting-act/24633.html
David Brash v. PHH Mortgage Corp., Ft. Benning. GA. (2011) $20 Million plus award for false credit reporting. http://4closurefraud.org/2011/03/23/phh-mortgage-jury-awards-gi-20m-in-mortgage-case/
Sealy Davis v. Ocwen Federal Bank, et al. 212th District Court, Galveston, Texas. (2005). $11.5 million verdict. Unfair debt collection of a mortgage loan in servicing loan. http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/florida-bank-hit-with-115-million-verdict-galveston-jury-says-ocwen-federal-bank-forced-woman-into-bankruptcy-55733732.html