MARTINSBURG -- An Upshur County couple is suing American General Home Equity after they claim the company engaged in a pattern of abusive debt collection practices.

Ricky Miller and Sue Ellen Siler obtained a credit line loan secured by a home Miller owned, according to a complaint filed March 5 in Berkeley Circuit Court.

The plaintiffs claim American General Home Equity failed to provide them with a Truth in Lending disclosure before, during or after a loan closing that was conducted by the defendant's employee Michael Oravec.

Miller and Siler made their monthly debt payments, but in April 2008 Miller was involved in a vehicle crash and was in and out of hospitals for nearly two months, according to the suit.

Siler left her employment upon Miller's hospital discharge so she could provide complete care for her husband, according to the suit.

Miller and Siler claim they fell behind on their loan payments to American General, despite using all of their savings money and borrowing from family members. They claim after they fell behind in payments, American General engaged in a pattern of oppressive and abusive collection practices.

The plaintiffs claim Oravec repeatedly and on numerous occasions used profanity and obscene language.

Oravec informed Siler that "he believed when he made the loan that the Millers would be unable to make the loan payments," according to the suit.

The plaintiffs claim that making a loan with the intent that the loan will not be repaid and that the lender will obtain titled to the property through foreclosure is in violation of West Virginia Code.

Miller and Siler are seeking damages as allowed under the Truth in Lending Act, the West Virginia Consumer and Protection Act and other West Virginia law. They are being represented by Andrew C. Skinner.

Berkeley Circuit Court case number: 10-C-188

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