CHARLESTON — A couple is suing Fifth Third Bank and Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation for negligence, unlawful debt collection and breach of contract.

On July 24, 2007, Summer Dawn Ballard and Brandon Cawley purchased their home and on Sept. 1, 2007, the servicing rights on their loan were transferred to Fifth Third Bank, according to a complaint filed May 4 in Kanawha Circuit Court.

In May 2009, Ballard and Cawley inquired about a loan modification with Fifth Third Bank and were accepted, according to the suit.

The plaintiffs claims the loan modification provided for a reduced interest rate of 3.25 percent and a lower monthly payment of $530.39, which included a monthly escrow payment of $172.15 and principal and interest payments of $358.24.

Ballard and Cawley claim in November 2009 Fifth Third Bank returned their payment, so they resubmitted it and confirmed with the bank that it was received.

On Nov. 25, 2009, Fifth Third Bank represented to Ballard and Cawley that their payment would increase to $691.13 because of an escrow shortage, which was false, according to the suit.

Ballard and Cawley claim that despite repeated attempts, the defendant refused to honor the loan agreement.

The plaintiffs are seeking compensatory and punitive damages and civil penalties. They are being represented by Bren J. Pomponio and Daniel F. Hedges.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Tod J. Kaufman.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 10-C-816

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