Quicken Loans prevails against fraud and statutory claims pursued by borrower
Clients Quicken Loans Inc.
Jones Day successfully defended Quicken Loans Inc., a mortgage lender based in Detroit, Michigan, against plaintiff-borrower's claim for more than $2 million in damages, including punitives. By statute, West Virginia law prohibits lenders from "[s]ecur[ing] a ... mortgage loan in a principal amount that ... exceeds the fair market value of the property on the date that the latest mortgage loan is made." A violation of the statute is actionable, with a different statute imposing other damages for a "willful" violation.
Plaintiff pursued relief under these statutes, as well as a common law fraud claim for which she sought punitive damages. Specifically, plaintiff alleged that Quicken Loans willfully and intentionally issued a mortgage in excess of the fair market value of her home based on a fraudulent appraisal. Plaintiff also pursued the appraiser for his allegedly improper and inaccurate appraisal, asserting statutory and tort claims, as well as the servicer of the loan for allegedly improper debt collection, asserting statutory claims. Plaintiff and the co-defendant servicer settled months before trial, and plaintiff and the co-defendant appraiser settled on the eve of trial, leaving Quicken Loans as the sole remaining defendant. The case was tried in state court in Raleigh County, West Virginia, to a six-member jury.
On March 6, 2015, the contentious five-day trial ended with a six-member state court jury verdict in Raleigh County, West Virginia, in favor of Quicken Loans for willful violation of the statute, fraud, and punitive damages. The jury found a de minimis statutory violation stemming from defects in the appraisal performed by Quicken Loans' independent, third-party appraiser. However, given plaintiff’s settlement with the co-defendant appraiser, plaintiff will not obtain any monetary relief from Quicken Loans.
Walters v. Quicken Loans Inc., No. 11-C-1123-K (Cir. Ct. Raleigh County, WV)