Kanawha mortgage case goes to federal court

By Jessica M. Karmasek | Sep 1, 2011

CHARLESTON -- Two Kanawha County residents say they have suffered severe emotional distress as a result of a mortgage servicing company's actions.

CHARLESTON -- Two Kanawha County residents say they have suffered severe emotional distress as a result of a mortgage servicing company's actions.

Plaintiffs Celia Stokes and Matthew Hobson filed their suit against defendants BAC Home Loans Servicing LP and Bank of America NA in Kanawha Circuit Court in March.

The suit was moved to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia Aug. 19.

In March 2007, Stokes and Hobson obtained financing through Countrywide Home Loans Inc. to purchase property in Kanawha County. In May 2007, they began making regular payments to Countrywide in the amount of $517.49.

In July 2008, the mortgage loan was assigned, sold or transferred from Countrywide, whose parent company is now Bank of America, to BAC. Stokes and Hobson then began making payments to BAC in the same amount.

In 2009, Stokes suffered medical problems, preventing her from making regular monthly payments to BAC. That summer, Hobson contacted the company about payment modification until her condition improved.

According to the plaintiffs' complaint, a BAC representative told Hobson the loan modification application process would take about 90 days.

In June 2009, the plaintiffs completed the application and returned it to BAC. BAC then agreed that they could start making payments of $448.59 until the loan modification was processed.

Stokes and Hobson continued to make payments of $448.59, but never heard from BAC regarding approval of their application.

Then, in August 2010, BAC mailed Stokes and Hobson a Notice of Right to Cure Default, demanding a balance of $7,842.73 be paid. The same month, a second notice was sent, this time demanding a balance of $7,293.86.

Months later, in December 2010, Seneca Trustees Inc. notified the plaintiffs by certified mail of a Notice of Trustee Sale scheduled for Jan. 4, 2011.

The plaintiffs, through their attorney, requested that Seneca postpone the sale indefinitely pending a review of the mortgage account. Instead, the sale was moved to Feb. 9, 2011.

Again, the plaintiffs requested that Seneca postpone the sale indefinitely. Instead, it was moved to March 30, 2011.

Stokes and Hobson's complaint allege seven separate counts against the defendants, including breach of contract, breach of covenant of good faith and fair dealing, estoppel, unlawful debt collection, misapplication of payments, failure to accept payments and negligence.

They are requesting appropriate equitable relief; actual and punitive damages; civil penalties for each violation of the West Virginia Consumer Credit Protection Act; attorney fees and costs; and any other relief the court deems equitable and just.

The plaintiffs are represented by Anthony J. Majestro of Charleston law firm Powell & Majestro PLLC.

BAC and Bank of America are represented by Christopher J. Sears and John B. McCuskey of Charleston firm Shuman McCuskey & Slicer PLLC.

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