A federal jury in Bakersfield, California awarded $158,568 in economic and statutory damages and $300,000 in emotional distress damages to a homeowner against Ocwen Loan Servicing, LLC (“OCWEN”).
The homeowners, Frank and Dora Cornejo had applied for a loan modification, but claimed Ocwen was “dual tracking” in violation of California’s Homeowner Bill of Rights, Civil Code Section 2923.6. Dual tracking is against the law and occurs when a mortgage servicer continues to foreclose on a homeowner’s home while simultaneously considering the homeowner’s application for a loan modification, short sale, or other form of loss mitigation.
OCWEN had blamed the foreclosure on the Cornejos’ delay in providing their loan modification application, and denied that any dual tracking had taken place. The jury decided that OCWEN willfully and recklessly “dual tracked” the Cornejos by foreclosing on their home even though a complete loan modification application had been presented to OCWEN.
Mrs. Cornejo had said, “We sent [OCWEN] all of the documents that they asked for, and they sold my home anyway. They even approved the application afterwards and told me the sale would be reversed. They gave me hope and lied to me. The jury saw that.”
The Cornejos were represented by Los Angeles based attorneys GianDominic Vitiello of Katchko, Vitiello & Karikomi, PC and Edward Angwin of The Angwin Law Firm, along with John Heenan of Bishop, Heenan & Davies Law Firm of Billings, Montana.
Mr. Vitiello had said in a press release, “Any loan servicer doing business in California has the obligation to observe protections afforded to borrowers in foreclosure, or pay the consequences. We believe this to be one of the first instances of emotional distress and mental suffering damages being awarded in a dual tracking case.”