Jason Causey and Jim Bordas represented the plaintiffs.
WHEELING – An Ohio County judge has ruled against Quicken Loans in a $3 million predatory lending case.
Circuit Court Judge Arthur M. Recht concluded an eight-day trial that spanned 17 months by awarding punitive damages, attorney fees and costs to mother and daughter Wheeling residents Lourie Jefferson and Monique Brown.
The award of more than $2.1 million in punitive damages, along with attorney fees and costs, brought the total verdict in the case against Quicken Loans to more than $3 million.
Jefferson and Brown also had previously reached a settlement for a confidential amount with the loan appraiser.
Bordas & Bordas attorneys were representing Jefferson and Brown in foreclosure proceedings initiated by Quicken Loans, their mortgage lender.
They alleged abusive and predatory conduct on Quicken Loans' part and filed a 12-count complaint on behalf of Jefferson and Brown, detailing predatory lending practices against Quicken Loans and its appraiser in Ohio Circuit Court.
At the first phase of the trial, the Court ruled in favor of Jefferson and Brown on numerous counts. The court found the lending practices of Quicken Loans unconscionable, based in part on Quicken's utilization of a highly inflated appraisal in making the loan.
The court also found that Quicken Loans defrauded the homeowners by misleading them into paying excessive loan origination fees; falsely promising to favorably refinance the loan in the near future; and concealing an enormous balloon payment from its own borrowers.
As a result, the court ruled the $144,800 loan that grew to $227,000 was unenforceable as a matter of law and would not have to be repaid and that Quicken Loans must return $17,000 in payments to Jefferson.
The second phase of the trial resulted in the punitive damage award and an order that Quicken Loans must pay Jefferson and Brown's attorney fees and costs.
Jim Bordas said the major verdict was justified and that the case encapsulated much of what led to the collapse of the housing market and economy as a whole.
"Ms. Jefferson and Ms. Brown fought very hard for justice against a large national lender," Bordas said.
Bordas said he hoped the award would send a message to other struggling homeowners.
Jason Causey, another attorney at Bordas & Bordas, also assisted with the case on behalf of Jefferson and Brown.
No settlement offer or offer of loan relief was extended before Recht issued his initial ruling.
Quicken Loans was represented by Richard W. Gallagher, Stephen W. King and James P. Feeney.