LOMBARD, ILLINOIS April 11, 2018 – Monette Saccameno secured a jury verdict against Ocwen Loan Servicing LLC (Ocwen), a national mortgage loan servicer for its breach of contract, violations of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), and violations of the unfairness and deception provisions of the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act. All of Saccameno’s claims dealt with Ocwen’s misconduct in handling and servicing the mortgage loan on Saccameno’s home in Cook County, Illinois, where Saccameno has resided for the last 16 years. Ocwen is headquartered in West Palm Beach, Florida.
Saccameno encountered financial troubles and defaulted on the loan in late 2008. In early 2009, U.S. Bank attempted to foreclose on the property. In December 2009, Saccameno filed a Chapter 13 bankruptcy in order to stop a foreclosure and to catch up on the mortgage arrears on her residence. The plan of reorganization was confirmed by the court on February 17, 2010 and Saccameno began to make both her contractual mortgage payments along with her Chapter 13 plan payments. Saccameno’s mortgage loan was serviced by Litton Loan Servicing for US Bank until US Bank transferred the servicing rights to Ocwen in July 2011. Saccameno made all of her plan payments through the Chapter 13 trustee and made every single mortgage payment directly to Litton Loan Servicing (US Bank) and subsequently to Ocwen once Ocwen took over servicing rights.
Once Ocwen took over the servicing of the note, it began to assess fees and expenses on the account even though Saccameno made every single contractual payment to both Ocwen and the bankruptcy trustee pursuant to her confirmed plan. On June 27, 2013 after Saccameno made her final Chapter 13 plan payment, the trustee issued a Notice of Payment of Final Mortgage Cure to which Ocwen neither objected nor replied thereby deeming the mortgage contractually current. A discharge was entered in the bankruptcy case on June 27, 2013.
Almost immediately after discharge, Ocwen began collecting the paid pre-petition arrears. Plaintiff provided documents to Ocwen in order to correct the errors. As it turns out, the bankruptcy was improperly coded in Ocwen’s mortgage servicing computer system as “dismissed” and not as “discharged”. Saccameno attempted to correct the errors through multiple written requests. Ocwen refused to correct the errors despite multiple requests by her bankruptcy attorney and her personal attorney. In fact, the foreclosure that was filed prior to Saccameno’s bankruptcy in December 2009 continued even after Saccameno’s mortgage loan was deemed current by the Bankruptcy Court. As a result, Saccameno suffered from emotional distress, depression, mental anguish, anxiety and incurred medical expenses and loss of employment and other damages that were incurred during the nearly three and a half year ordeal.
The eight (8) day federal trial concluded on April 11, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois at the Everett McKinley Dirksen United States Court House. The jury, after deliberating for approximately 7 hours, determined that Ocwen breached its contract, violated RESPA for failing to adequately respond to Saccameno’s Qualified Written Request, violated the FDCPA and committed both unfair and deceptive acts in violation of the Illinois Consumer Fraud Act. Monette Saccameno was awarded $500,000.00 in compensatory damages, $70,000.00 in non-economic damages, $12,000.00 in economic damages and $3,000,000.00 in punitive damages. Nicholas Heath Wooten, Esq., Ross Michael Zambon, Esq., and Mohammed Omar Badwan, Esq. led the litigation team on behalf of Saccameno.
The outcome of this trial should come as good news to all consumers who have struggled with aggressive mortgage servicing tactics throughout the ongoing financial crisis. The litigation team was meticulous and methodical in its litigation approach, and was able to obtain a punitive damages award for Saccameno and against Ocwen – an award that is meant to punish and deter future misconduct – under the Illinois Consumer Fraud Act.
Leading Attorneys in Consumer Law:
Ahmad Sulaiman, Esq. is the managing partner of Atlas Consumer Law, a division of Sulaiman Law Group, Ltd. and is also a highly regarded graduate of Gardner's Consumer Litigation and Bankruptcy Boot Camps. Ahmad is recognized as a thought leader in foreclosure defense, consumer and commercial bankruptcy, and consumer law by his peers. He was designated as a Super Lawyer Rising Star from 2010 through 2018 and has also been designated a Leading Lawyer by his peers. Nicholas Heath Wooten, Esq. is the managing partner of Nick Wooten, LLC and is nationally known for his work in mortgage servicing and foreclosure defense litigation. Nick's courtroom work and writings led to his recognition as a national thought leader on issues of securitization with respect to foreclosure and bankruptcy. Ross Michael Zambon is the managing partner of Zambon Law, Ltd. and is highly regarded by his peers and adversaries for his litigation work on behalf of consumers. He has been designated as a Super Lawyer Rising Star from 2010 through 2017. Mohammed O. Badwan, Esq. of Atlas Consumer Law, a division of Sulaiman Law Group, Ltd. is well known for his work in consumer law. He is the Director of Litigation for Atlas Consumer Law and has been designated as a Super Lawyer Rising Star by his peers.
About Atlas Consumer Law, a division of Sulaiman Law Group, Ltd. Atlas Consumer Law, a division of Sulaiman Law Group Ltd., is a national consumer litigation firm in Lombard, Illinois that focuses on consumer litigation matters regarding the FDCPA, TCPA, FCRA, RESPA and other consumer fraud statutes.