PHH suffered one outrageous atrocity after another on the homeowner. Jury disgusted and awarded a $16.2 million.

The other day a caller said “I used a document preparer or bankruptcy petition preparer. Certainly they have obligations to keep my social security number confidential?” Unfortunately I had to say “Oh how wrong you are.”

loan modificationLoan modification – PHH Mortgage – July 18, 2014 PHH Mortgage Services, a loan servicer in N.J.  learned that the Yuba Superior Court jury was not sympathetic to its failure to act in a reasonable manner with regards to the modification of a home loan.   PHH suffered one outrageous atrocity after another on the homeowner.   It turned into a $16.2 million jury verdict against a nationwide loan-servicing company comprised of $514,000 in compensatory damages and $15.7 million in punitive damages.  The plaintiff’s attorney ranked this verdict the highest jury award in years.  Andre Chernay and Jon Oldenburg of the United Law Center in Roseville took on a Goliath and won.

We all should thank them for their service.

The plaintiff’s attorney ranked this verdict the highest jury award in years.

Think about the information you are giving this stranger: all your financial information, your children’s names, bank accounts and your social security number. You do this without the slightest guarantee that the information will be kept safe.

The story is one that thousands of homeowners have experienced over the last 8 years: job loss, financial collapse, and possible bankruptcy.  The homeowner diligently works with the lender to reduce payments, following the lender/servicer’s instructions only to find complete mismanagement by the lender/servicer to properly document agreements and then the initiation of a foreclosure.

Most certainly this verdict will be appealed.   Very likely most of the verdict will be overturned.   Having said that – the message is strong – we are all very tired of the lenders and servicers lying to homeowners.

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Should jail time be part of the punishment?  That issue would have to be taken up by a separate arm of the legal system, but I doubt it will happen.  Personally, I believe many of the management of many of the banks and servicers should face jail time for the nightmare they visited on homeowners and their families.

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