On April 21, 2015, a jury rendered a $2 million verdict in the case of Elena Hammer v. Residential Credit Solutions, Inc. Via our firm, Ms. Hammer sued RCS for breach of contract, violations of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures act, and for unfair and deceptive conduct, in violation of the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act.
All of the facts of the case centered around RCS's mishandling of Ms. Hammer's mortgage loan. AmTrust bank was the servicer of her mortgage. In 2009, the bank failed and was taken into receivership by the FDIC. In June 2010, the FDIC gave Ms. Hammer a loan modifiction in its capacity as receiver for AmTrust.
In August 2010, RCS took over the servicing of the mortgage. In September 2010, RCS started rejecting Ms. Hammer's payments. It refused to acknowledge the loan modifications. She kept sending in her payments, which RCS rejected. RCS filed two separate foreclosure actions. In March 2011, the first foreclosure was dismissed. In September 2011, still rejecting her payments, RCS filed a second foreclosure lawsuit that remained open until December 2013.
Atlas Consumer Law filed a federal lawsuit on Ms. Hammer's behalf. It ultimately resulted in a six day federal trial in Chicago, Illinois. At trial it was established that RCS was aware of the loan modification granted by the FDIC. In fact, RCS had received the documentation. RCS chose to ignore the loan modification and proceed forward with two wrongful foreclousure actions. Ms. Hammer's health was directly affected by RCS's conduct; her physician testified to this fact.
After two hours of deliberation, the jury returned a verdict awarding Ms. Hammer $500,000.00 in compensatory damages and $1,500,000.00 in punitive damages. The case was prosecuted by Nicholas Wooten, Ross Zambon, and Mara Baltabols.
While this is not the average consumer case, and certainly not the average outcome, it represents a big win for Ms. Hammer and a bigger win for consumers nationwide. It is possible to beat the big banks, even if you're the little guy.