Linza v. PHH Mortgage Corporation et al. PHH Mortgage Ordered to Bond $5 million Against Trial Award, Linza Home Stayed from Foreclosure During 115 Day Post-Trial Period

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United Law Center secured a $5 million bond against the $16.2 million award to protect the judgment during the 115 day post-trial period. The next post-trial hearing to argue the amount of the trial damages is scheduled for Wed., Oct. 8, 2014 at 9:00 a.m. PST.

Stephen J. Foondos, founder and senior managing partner of United Law Center.

Stephen J. Foondos, founder and senior managing partner of United Law Center.

"...there are millions of homeowners out there who are still being victimized by their mortgage servicer and will continue to be without more regulations," said Stephen Foondos, founder of United Law Center.

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United Law Center (ULC, a professional law corporation), the Calif. consumer law firm leading the litigation charge in homeowner defense for foreclosure and other mortgage violations, obtained a victory in a post-trial hearing for the July 2014 mortgage modification jury trial: Linza v. PHH Mortgage Corporation et al. (Yuba County Superior Ct. No. 12-0000714). The ULC team secured a $5 million bond against the $16.2 million award to protect the judgment during the 115 day post-trial period. A bond at this stage of the proceedings is without precedent. However, the judge required a bond equal to the legal precedent allowed for punitive damages (10x the compensatory damages). An award greater than 10x compensatory damages can be upheld with evidence of unique circumstances, which will be the basis of future motions. An appeal bond, usually one-and-a-half times the judgment, may be required should Defendants decide to appeal. Additionally, ULC secured a stay of foreclosure by way of stipulation, preventing PHH Mortgage from pursuing a non-judicial foreclosure against Mr. Linza’s Plumas Lake home during this 115 day period. The next post-trial hearing to argue the amount of the trial damages is scheduled for Wednesday, October 8, 2014 at 9:00 a.m. PST at the Yuba County Superior Courthouse in Yuba City, Calif.

In July 2014, a Northern Calif. jury found for the Plaintiff, Mr. Linza, awarding $513,902 in damages and $15.7 million in punitive damages against the Defendant bank (Linza v. PHH Mortgage). "This jury decision is unprecedented in this area of litigation in California, sending a clear message about what juries think of arrogant and reckless banking practices, especially outsourced servicing of home loans," explained Stephen Foondos, founder and senior managing partner of United Law Center. “Servicers like PHH Mortgage have enjoyed the freedom of limited regulation since the industry exploded in 2012 after banks allegedly decided it was more profitable for them to outsource mortgage servicing, especially those homes in default or foreclosure.”

Regulators are starting to recognize that this system fails homeowners. In a Feb. 12, 2014 Bloomberg article citing his prepared remarks to the New York Bankers Association Meeting and Economic Forum that month, New York state financial regulator Benjamin Lawsky stated that, “…regulators should stop the dramatic growth of non-bank mortgage servicers to make sure the companies can handle the business and not put homeowners at risk”. He goes on to say that, “We are seeing far too many struggling homeowners getting caught in a vortex of lost paperwork, unexplained fees and avoidable foreclosures.” Linza v. PHH Mortgage is the first jury trial to expose the resulting damage to a homeowner when a servicer makes mistakes and doesn’t make the effort to rectify them.

“Mr. Linza’s case exposes a national problem in the mortgage servicing industry,” added Foondos. “Mr. Linza’s home is safe from foreclosure and the jury award that he was granted remains secure, but there are millions of homeowners out there who are still being victimized by their mortgage servicer and will continue to be without more regulations.” ULC has specialized in this area of law since 2008, representing over 1,000 similar clients. ULC is the largest law firm in California specializing in homeowner defense.

The Linza suit alleged that his servicer breached its contract and acted fraudulently in respect to its business practices by providing a loan modification but then repeatedly switched the amount of those payments and initiated foreclosure proceedings. The foreclosure sale of Mr. Linza’s home would have occurred in 2012 had ULC not intervened. In total, Linza and ULC sued on 11 causes of action including fraud, breach of contract, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Based on a previously published California case by ULC, Bushell v. JPMorgan/Chase (3rd Dist. Ct. App. No. C070643), homeowners in California may sue on a fraud cause of action for false promise if a bank promises a homeowner a modification, but ends up denying the modification. ULC has four published cases in California in this area of law.

Homeowners interested in determining if they have a case similar to Linza or other landmark mortgage real estate cases like Bushell or Glaski can visit http://www.unitedlawcenter.com and take a few minutes to fill out a simple form about their experience with their mortgage company or servicer. Once the form is complete, they are encouraged to contact United Law Center at and schedule a free, no-time limit consultation.

About United Law Center    
United Law Center (ULC) is the consumer law firm leading the litigation charge in homeowner defense for foreclosure and other mortgage violations. With four published cases in California, ULC is securing case law in favor of homeowners fighting banks to keep their homes. ULC protects homeowners against consumer law violations. To determine if a homeowner has a valid case, they are encouraged to visit http://www.unitedlawcenter.com or call 916-367-0622 to schedule a free, no-time-limit consultation.

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Heather Atherton
United Law Center
since: 12/2012
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