Countrywide, Bank of America sued for violation of state laws, codes

By Kyla Asbury | Jul 17, 2014

WHEELING - One couple and two individuals are suing Countrywide Home Loans and Bank of America after they claim it violated multiple state laws and codes when it failed to have West Virginia-licensed attorneys at its loan closings.

David and Theresa Palkovic; Erica L. Oliver; and Rae Zatezalo had loans with Countrywide Home Loans and Bank of America and they claim when they closed on each of their individual loans, Countrywide hired third-party non-lawyers with only notary public credentials and not under direct supervision of West Virginia lawyers to close on their mortgage loans, according to a complaint filed June 26 in Ohio Circuit Court.

The plaintiffs claim West Virginia law requires that mortgage loan closings be conducted only by West Virginia-licensed lawyers, laypersons under direct supervision of West Virginia lawyers or bona fide full-time lay employees performing legal services for their regular employers.

Countrywide employed standard practices to charge borrowers excessive and unlawful fees, which violate applicable law and have enriched Countrywide and others at the expense of the borrowers, according to the suit.

The plaintiffs claim Countrywide's charges of more than $500 for loan closing services far exceeds the maximum notary charge of $2 permitted under West Virginia code and the closing charges constitute an excessive charge in violation of West Virginia code.

Countrywide also willfully induced the plaintiffs into loan transactions that exceeded the fair market value of their properties, in violation of West Virginia code, according to the suit.

The plaintiffs claim Carlyle Millard, Diane J. Wolfe and Myra C. Fecat were not licensed to practice law and were not directly supervised by any West Virginia-licensed lawyer and were not bona fide full-time Countrywide employees, which violated West Virginia law.

The plaintiffs bring their action on behalf of themselves and others similarly situated under Rule 23(b)(3) of the West Virginia Rules of Civil Procedure, according to the suit.

The plaintiffs are seeking certification of the proposed classes; judgment on all counts together with award of all available relief; actual and compensatory damages; and pre- and post-judgment interest.

They are being represented by Jason E. Causey and James G. Bordas Jr. of Bordas & Bordas; and Jonathan R. Marshall of Bailey & Glasser LLP.

Ohio Circuit Court case number: 14-C-184

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