Kramer and Kaslow: Georgia Army Sergeant Wins Case against PHH Mortgage Corp.

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Kramer Law: Evidence in the Case of David Brash v. PHH Mortgage Corp., doing business as Coldwell Banker, shows the bank violated federal law.

Kramer & Kaslow

A jury in Georgia recently awarded a Fort Benning Army sergeant, David Brash, over twenty million dollars because of what attorney Philip A. Kramer calls the “egregious fashion of his lender” (David Brash v. PHH Mortgage Corp., doing business as Coldwell Banker; case Number: 4:2009cv00146; Georgia Middle District Court).

During his testimony, Brash said that since he was going into combat, he set up an automatic mortgage payment, but after eighteen months, Coldwell Banker began sending late payment notices and making phone calls demanding payment. Concerned that a negative report to the credit reporting agencies might negatively affect his military career and make it difficult to obtain a security clearance, Brash immediately contacted the bank to inform the lender of their error and to make sure that Coldwell Banker did not erroneously report a late payment to the credit bureaus.

According to court documents, Brash made many attempts to correct the banks erroneous reporting of delinquencies even though the bank was in fact receiving mortgage payments via automatic deduction from Sergeant Brash’s account. Also according to court documents, Sergeant Brash’s letters to the mortgage company went unanswered – violating federal laws. His phone calls were routed to overseas customer service employees who were unable to answer his questions.

During the trial, the bank was forced to admit that their overseas staff had limited access to information. The bank was further embarrassed when several of the calls – all recorded by PHH as a matter of standard operating procedure, were played in court. According to the recordings played in court, Brash was placed on hold for 30, 40 , and at least once for 55 minutes, and then, if he wasn’t disconnected, would be presented with a different response and a promise to get back to him – which never happened.

Philip Kramer, a perennial recipient of the prestigious Southern California Super Lawyer award, says he was appalled by Sergeant Brash’s treatment, but not surprised. “I deal with homeowners’ complaints every day and am currently leading several of the largest mass joinder lawsuits ever brought against the banks for their bad behavior in the mortgage crisis,” says Kramer. “Every day, I deal with people whose homes are in foreclosure, and it never ceases to amaze me how callous, and often incompetent, the banks’ behavior is in dealing with people. I’m not surprised that a jury awarded Mr. Bash so much for his trouble.”

According to Brash’s testimony, he recognized that he was not making progress with the bank through his own personal efforts, so he engaged an attorney to represent him. Initially, Brash said all he sought was to avoid a damaging report to the credit bureaus. Despite numerous phone calls and written requests, in November 2009, Brash was reported as being “serious delinquent” to credit reporting agencies.

“When the matter went to trial, the jury was appalled at how David Brash had been treated,” says Philip Kramer. According to court documents, the jury awarded Brash 1 million dollars in compensatory damages plus $575 for out of pocket expenses. They also awarded him $350,000 for attorney fees. The 20 million dollar award was for punitive damages.

“No one goes into a trial for fun,” says Kramer. “The bank had every opportunity here to correct their errors, and instead through incompetence and denial, the made matters worse and worse. It’s a sad comment when even the military gets no respect, when they behave like this toward a patriot, a man who puts himself in harm’s way to protect our country. I wish that none of my clients needed my help. But unless the banks start to get it and change their behavior, I’m sad to say I think there are going to be a lot more people seeking legal redress.”

PHILIP A. KRAMER is the senior partner of the Law Office of Kramer & Kaslow, in Calabasas, California. Kramer & Kaslow is Martindale Hubbell “AV” rated. Mr. Kramer is a perennial recipient of the prestigious “Southern California Super Lawyer” award.

Mr. Kramer received his undergraduate degree from Ohio State University and his Juris Doctorate from the Catholic University of America, in Washington, DC. His practice emphasizes commercial litigation and trial advocacy, with a concentration on business litigation, and real property matters. He has prosecuted and defended cases for over twenty five years.

Mr. Kramer is a licensed real estate broker and has spent considerable time providing legal services in connection with real estate issues relating to loan modification and loss mitigation, land use and zoning, environmental issues, easements, construction and development, finance, and landlord tenant matters.

Mr. Kramer is admitted to practice before all courts in the State of California, the United States Supreme Court and the United States Court of Military Appeals. Mr. Kramer has tried in excess of 200 cases. He has appeared on nationally televised programs regarding pre-trial procedure and trial strategy and has appeared as a guest lecturer on topics ranging from constitutional law to trial practice, and Mr. Kramer frequently lectures on a broad spectrum of various legal and business issues.

Mr. Kramer also serves as a Judge Pro Tem for the Los Angeles Superior Court and as a Mediator.

Mr. Kramer is also a past president of the Los Angeles West Inns of Court, a national organization dedicated to bringing professionalism and civility back into the legal profession. He also serves on numerous Boards of Directors and serves as an officer in many companies. For more information call (818) 224-3900 or visit


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Stuart R. Simone, Esquire
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