Like many home owners who have tried to secure a loan modification for their mortgage, Philip Linza felt like he was hitting up against a brick wall. Over and over again.
His lender, PHH Mortgage, made one bumbling error after another, and as a result, Linza, a resident in Sacramento, CA, almost lost his house.
Fed up, he sued in a court of law.
The jury, presumably also fed up with the ineptitude and shenanigans of big banks, decided to award Mr. Linza an unprecedented amount of money: $514,000 in compensatory damages plus $15.7 million in punitive damages.
PHH Mortgage, the sixth-largest mortgage loan originator and eighth-largest loan servicer, isn’t taking its punishment without a fight. Vice President Dico Akseraylian claims the verdict is not supported by facts or by applicable law. Furthermore, he says the amount of the award “is grossly disproportionate to any alleged damages.”
Perhaps the award is a wee bit high. A typical jury award for mortgage fraud would be in the $15,000 to $100,000 range. So I can see why $16 million would be a big pill to choke on. Plus, he does still have his home.
Now with a review and appeal as the logical next steps, one has to wonder if the home owner will ever see a dollar of that money.
Everything about this story seems over-the-top to me. What do you think?
10 thoughts on “Home Owner Awarded $16,000,000 By Jury in Case Against Big Bank”
The extra-high punitive damages awarded may be a curse in disguise. Had they been more reasonable, Mr. Linza might have his money by now.
I agree. PHH doesn’t want to set a precedent for such a high cash award.
Good article Carolyn.
Thank you for the compliment, Tom.
The funny part is that the law firm that represented the homeowner has a long history of taking homeowners money and basically jusst trying to stall foreclosures. Google: Stephen Foondos scam.
I guesst he old adage “even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in awhile,” applies in this case.
Thank you for your comment, Rock. I did the Google search and uncovered some interesting information.
I found this article with a statement by Stephen Foondos on the Linza case, which verifies he was the attorney.
I also found this complaint filed by a home owner who paid Fondoos $8,250 and received no help whatsoever, according to the home owner. The home owner says Fondoos admitted to doing nothing in regards to his loan modification request.
Without a huge punitive damage award the bank may not learn a lesson i.e. the bank will not likely reach the threshold point for thinking twice before attempting to fleece another customer. The proliferation and continuation of unethical banking practices have long term implications for all homeowners dealing with that bank and any other bank of similar behavior.
Therefore the award to one homeowner while disproportionately large for the crime against that one home owner is not so large when one considers it and compares it to the potentional losses to all homeowners if the behavoir is left unchecked and without substantial punishment.
You make a very good point, Alejandro. Thank you for posting.
I hired a Lawyer for Damages,She was Refered by Court assigned free lawyers Proved Case But Lawyer deciding to add Previous Foreclosure with 2012 Fraudulent Foreclosure Wasn’t experienced After 20 K Then 2!years paying 2nd Lawyer She NEVER GAVE PROPER 2012 Documents To PRESENT, Lawyers . So What To we Submit To Judge To Call out Documents tampered with And documents Submitted, Where in accurate WE HAVE SEPT 12 Ruling
I wish you all the best in your hearing. I am not an attorney and cannot give legal advice. You will need to ask your attorney any questions you have about documents or other requirements.