Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Strong Evidence, But Not Strong Enough, Says Florida Appeals Court In Throwing Out $8.3 Million Judgment Against Foreclosure Rescue Operator Who Allegedly Used Unfair, Deceptive Trade Practices When Peddling Forensic Loan Audits, Foreclosure Defense Services; Unresolved Issues Of Material Fact Precluded Summary Judgment, Case Kicked Back To Trial Judge For Further Proceedings

In Fort Lauderdale, Florida, the Daily Business Review reports:
  • An $8.3 million judgment against Margate-based mortgage company Outreach Housing LLC for allegedly defrauding clients facing foreclosure after the housing market collapse has been overturned.

    The company faced allegations from the Office of the Attorney General, accusing it of unfair and deceptive trade practices to mislead homeowners with delinquent mortgages into paying Outreach—instead of their lenders—as a means of escaping foreclosure.

    Outreach lost the first leg of the litigation when Broward Circuit Judge Michael L. Gates determined liability by summary judgment. The case turned in its favor on appeal, however, when a state judicial panel found unresolved questions precluded summary judgment.(1)
    Clients claimed Outreach solicited business through homeowner interviews eliciting information about inaccuracies in loan documents to convince prospective customers of a legal basis for challenging their contracts. They said it offered loan mitigation and foreclosure defense to clients who provided two-thirds of their monthly mortgage payments to negotiate on their behalf.

    But the Attorney General's Office claimed the company violated Florida's Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act by misleading homeowners, while it only strategically delayed foreclosure to keep them paying.
For more, see Judgment Against Mortgage Company for Defrauding Clients Overturned.
(1) From the court's ruling:
  • "In sum, the summary judgment evidence and the affidavit in opposition showed that material issues of fact remain. While the OAG's evidence is strong, if believed by the trier of fact, Outreach had a different version and explanation of what occurred," Warner wrote. "The OAG did not erase the doubt created by the opposing evidence. We must reverse."

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