It’s not one of the multibillion-dollar settlements or multimillion-dollar jury awards designed to spur reform of such allegedly abusive mortgage-servicing practices as falsified court documents, improper fees and other misconduct. But a recent ruling from a Delaware judge is a step forward for people making a last stand in bankruptcy to hang on to their homes, one attorney says.
Judge Brendan Shannon of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del., on Friday ordered Ocwen Loan Servicing LLC to pay the fees and costs of a Delaware couple’s bankruptcy on the grounds that Ocwen’s “unfounded and incorrect assertion” that they had defaulted on their mortgage loan was what drove them to seek court protection.
Richard J. and Mary Ann Williams were never materially behind on their mortgage payments, the judge said, but they were pushed into bankruptcy to keep Ocwen from taking their home in foreclosure.
“Basically, they were kicking two older people out of their home for no reason whatsoever other than they think they can get away with it,” was attorney Peter K. Schaeffer Jr.’s take on his clients’ plight. It still happens, even after a series of reforms designed to rein in abuses by mortgage lenders and loan services, he said.
“Ocwen is reviewing the court’s ruling to determine the company’s course of action,” said Margaret Popper, spokeswoman for the company.