CHARLESTON -- A Putnam County couple is suing Hartford Fire Insurance Company after they claim it violated West Virginia Code.

In 2003, Jerry Lee Rhodes and Bonnie M. Cochran responded to a solicitation by Equity South Mortgage for a home improvement loan, according to a complaint filed March 29 in Kanawha Circuit Court.

The plaintiffs claim Hartford Fire Insurance Company issued a surety bond on behalf of Equity South Mortgage.

Rhodes and Cochran claim Equity arranged for an inflated appraisal and misrepresented that both plaintiffs were the owners of a home, when in fact only Rhodes was.

When payments became difficult in 2004, they reached out to Equity, who arranged for another appraisal and directed them to pay for it directly, according to the suit.

The plaintiffs claim Equity failed to disclose adequately and consistent with West Virginia Code; charged them illegal broker fees; obtained credit terms without regard to their ability to pay; suppressed certain terms of the loan agreement; and failed to seek out and obtain credit from them on the best available terms.

Rhodes and Cochran are seeking damages in the amount of $50,000 with interest. They are being represented by Scott S. Blass and Daniel F. Hedges.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge James C. Stucky.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 10-C-592

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