Monday, June 29, 2015

Indiana Appeals Court To Trial Judge: Based On The Facts & Evidence, Declaring $300K+ Mortgage Unenforceable To Sanction Contemptuous Bankster In Foreclosure Case Was A Bit Too Much, But $100K Sanction Is Just Fine With Us!

The following facts have been adapted from recent foreclosure litigation between a homeowner/couple and a rogue bankster in the Indiana Court of Appeals:
  1. OneWest Bank, FSB ("OneWest") was twice found in contempt of court for its failure to comply with court orders arising from foreclosure proceedings against homeowners Jason and Natalie Jarvis ("the Jarvises").
  2. Among OneWest's contemptuous handiwork against the Jarvises was a continued jerk-around directed at them in connection with a loan modification agreement, and, after being ordered to comply with the agreement, it continued to disregard the terms of the deal, attempting to collect allegedly outstanding balances, attempting to change the Jarvises' monthly payments, failing to clear their credit reports, incorrectly notifying them that they were in default, and sending real estate agents to the Jarvis home, encouraging them to "short sale" their home.
  3. After stating he was "stunned" by OneWest's antics, and describing OneWest as having "systematically ... thumbed its nose at the Court[,]" the understandably offended trial judge (ie. Lake Superior Court Judge Calvin D. Hawkins, if anyone's interested) sanctioned the brazen bankster by dismissing its foreclosure action with prejudice and belting it further by ordering that no further action ever be taken by them or their successors in connection with the Jarvises' home loan or pursuing its legal or equitable claims against the Jarvis home. At the time, the Jarvises' loan balance was a bit more than $311,000. Unsurprisingly, the shameless OneWest appealed
  4. While empathetic with Judge Hawkins, the Indiana Court of Appeals nevertheless (predictably, perhaps) kiboshed his sanction, saying there was no evidence to support a sanction for over $300,000. The appeals court kicked the case back to him, giving him a second bite at the apple in spanking OneWest with a sanction a bit more in line with reason - one that did not constitute an abuse of his discretion. See OneWest Bank v. Jarvis, 14 N.E.3d 135 (Ind. Ct. App. June 20, 2014).(1)
  5. After cooling off a bit, then reconsidering the matter, Judge Hawkins issued a revised order for sanctions, slamming OneWest with a more reasonable sanction of $100,000.
  6. Predictably, OneWest once again whined to the appeals court. This time, however, its bellyaching fell on deaf ears and, for the reasons set forth in its second ruling in this litigation, the Indiana Court of Appeals green-lighted (or is it green-lit???) the $100,000 sanction.
For the court's (second) ruling, see OneWest Bank v. Jarvis, Case No. 45A03-1501-MF-1 (Ind. Ct. App. June 23, 2015).

Thanks to Deontos for the heads-up on this ruling.

(1) In empathizing with an ostensibly pissed off Judge Hawkins, obviously riled about OneWest's contemptuous shenanigans, Judge Michael P. Barnes, writing for the three-judge panel hearing the first appeal, observed:
  • The trial court was understandably angry, as are we. As frustrated, inconvenienced, and embarrassed as the Jarvises were by OneWest's actions, there is no evidence that more than $300,000 in monetary damages was warranted. As such, we must conclude that the trial court abused its discretion by precluding OneWest from attempting to enforce the note and/or mortgage based upon a future default by the Jarvises.

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