Bankruptcy

Supreme Court to Ocwen. Keep Violating Your National Agreements. However, You will Pay $1k for Each Phone Call.

The court sanctioned Ocwen $1,000 per phone call and debtors claimed they had over 100 calls from Ocwen, so that amounted to $100k penalty.

LIT COMMENTARY

This Ocwen case caught our attention in the list of denied petitions this week, March 22, 2021. The case was filed with the question being directed towards denial of attorney fees to debtors on appeal from a bankruptcy proceeding, wherein Ocwen were sanctioned. The homeowners petition did not highlight any financial penalties and Ocwen waived from a response. However, the Supreme Court said, no Ocwen, y’all need to reply to this one and they duly did. In their response,Ocwen details the contempt order, sanctions and penalties, which we have extracted in relevant part below.

What the takeaway here is that the court sanctioned Ocwen $1,000 per phone call and debtors claimed they had over 100 calls from Ocwen, so that amounted to $100k in “emotional distress” penalty.

This is interesting as it provides all homeowners with a penalty precedent for harassing phone calls and we assume that would apply to letters and digital communications like text messages or email.  This case also provides further penalty guidance to TCPA/FDCPA and CAN-SPAM class actions, of which there are several floating around the courts nationwide against Ocwen and PHH. This is why Ocwen have intimated in the response – and the debtors attorney’s confirm – Ocwen plans to continue appealing these types of penalties to exhaust the debtors of litigation fees and/or frustrate them into giving up their claims for relief – hence the request for legal fees in this petition.

Ultimately, the Supreme Court declined the petition, another win for banks and nonbanks as homeowners have to pick up the legal tab for any appeal in this type of scenario. Thus Ocwen’s goal of violating their court agreements will continue as they know only a few cases will settle or be won at trial. As our archives show and as the US Court data confirms, nearly all cases in federal courts fail to reach a jury/bench trial and are either dismissed or in a very select few cases, settled.

However, the conversation in these briefs, although in large part are focused on attorney fees, highlight the stratagem of Ocwen to continue to use it’s team of lawyers to extend litigation as much as possible to ‘bankrupt’ those who dare to question their unlawful debt collection practices.  It certainly means that you either have to continue litigation as a pro se in these matters or find a law firm or lawyer that will take on your case, no doubt in a “class action” styled proceeding.

The other takeaway from this case is that despite the homeowners admitting after they bought their ‘dream home’ that it was a mistake and they could not afford it, they immediately made arrangements with the lender to hand over the keys and walk away. However, Ocwen Altisource harassed these homeowners for debts they did not owe (as they were fully discharged in the bankuptcy proceedings) for the next two years plus, causing great distress financially, to the debtors marriage and health. This included add on services which Altisource provides to Ocwen, e.g. forced placed insurance.

This proves that Ocwen Altisource– a $3 Billion dollar sanctioned entity – is still behaving unlawfully to this very day and violating the nationwide settlements they have agreed to over the years and is completely contrary to Bill Erbey’s (Ocwen Altisource) falsehoods in his ongoing St. Croix litigation.

No. 20-409

IN THE

Supreme Court of the United States

CHRISTOPHER MICHAEL MARINO AND
VALERIE MARGARET MARINO,
Petitioners,

v.

OCWEN LOAN SERVICING, LLC,
Respondent.

On Petition for a Writ of Certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

BRIEF IN OPPOSITION TO CERTIORARI

[MAR 22, 2021 | PETITION DENIED]

Factual Background

1. Petitioners Christopher and Valerie Marino owned a home located in Verdi, California.

App. 2a.

Respondent Ocwen Loan Servicing1 serviced the mortgage on their home.

Id.

After petitioners fell behind on their mortgage payments, they left their home and permitted Ocwen to foreclose on it.

Id.

Petitioners then filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Nevada. App. 16a. Three months later, their debt was discharged. Id.
Following petitioners’ discharge, Ocwen sent letters and made phone calls to petitioners about their former home.

App. 3a.

“The letters included account statements, notices regarding force-placed insurance, escrow statements, and other matters.”

App. 16a.

Many of these letters included disclaimers stating that

“if you received a [bankruptcy] discharge, please be advised that this notice is for information purposes only and is not an attempt to collect a pre-petition or discharged debt.”

App. 17a.

2. In response to Ocwen’s communications, petitioners moved to reopen their bankruptcy case and hold Ocwen in contempt for an alleged violation of the discharge injunction. App. 17a. Petitioners’ motion “only mentioned [Ocwen’s] written correspondence.” Id. n.3.

Nonetheless, relying on both Ocwen’s letters and phone calls, the bankruptcy court held that Ocwen violated the discharge injunction by supposedly attempting to collect petitioners’ discharged debt. App. 44a.

As sanctions, the court ordered Ocwen to pay petitioners $760 in actual damages and $119,000 in “emotional distress damages.”

Id.

The court arrived at that $119,000 figure by multiplying the number of alleged contacts Ocwen had with petitioners (119) by $1,000. Id. 100 of those alleged 119 contacts were phone calls

—which, again, petitioners had not mentioned in their motion.

Id.

On top of the $119,760 in damages, the bankruptcy court awarded petitioners the “attorney fees and costs” they incurred in securing the contempt order. Id. It declined to impose punitive damages, concluding that it lacked legal authority to do so.

See App. 24a.

1 Following the events at issue in this case, Ocwen Loan Servicing merged with, and is now known as, PHH Mortgage Corporation. For ease of reference, this brief refers to Ocwen.

The Ninth Circuit first dismissed Ocwen’s appeal for lack of jurisdiction.

App. 7a.

The court held that the BAP’s decision was not a final and appealable order because the BAP had remanded for further proceedings on punitive damages.

App. 5a-7a.

The court therefore never addressed whether the bankruptcy court erred in finding a discharge violation—meaning that Ocwen can again raise that issue if and when the case “climb[s] back up the appellate ladder.”

No. 20-409

IN THE

Supreme Court of the United States

CHRISTOPHER MICHAEL MARINO AND
VALERIE MARGARET MARINO,
Petitioners,

v.

OCWEN LOAN SERVICING, LLC,
Respondent.

On Petition for a Writ of Certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

PETITION FOR A WRIT OF CERTIORARI

[MAR 22, 2021 | PETITION DENIED]

The bankruptcy court held respondent in contempt.

App., infra, 23a-24a, 43a-44a.

It found that “[respondent] had called approximately a hundred times following the discharge to ask [petitioners] to pay the discharged debt,” in addition to sending “nineteen offending letters.”

Id. at 24a.

It awarded petitioners “damages for emotional dis- tress, actual damages, and attorneys’ fees and costs”; it further noted it lacked “authority to impose punitive damages,” but “‘[i]f [it] did, [it] probably would.’”

Ibid.1

The upshot is obvious: If appellate fees are barred, few debtors will enforce or defend the discharge, knowing that an initial victory will disappear unless debtors personally front the expense of defending the judgment on multiple rounds of appeal.

Owen’s Easter Basket of Omissions and Whiteouts re Ocwen Loan Servicing et al.

The Burkes filed their Petition for Rehearing en banc to allow all the active judges who are not recused and able to participate, an opportunity to cast their Vote.

The Chief Priscilla ‘Foreclosure Queen’ Owen’s Accelerating Relationship with Mortgage Servicer Ocwen

Judge Priscilla Owen is involved in most of the 3-panel opinions in 2021 related to foreclosure appeals, representing Wall St. and taking properties as Chief executioner.

Protected: Owen’s Easter Basket of Omissions and Whiteouts re Hopkins Law et al

A party who files timely written objections to a magistrate judge’s report and recommendation is entitled to a de novo review of those findings or recommendations to which the party specifically objects. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C); Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b)(2)-(3).

Supreme Court to Ocwen. Keep Violating Your National Agreements. However, You will Pay $1k for Each Phone Call.
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Laws In Texas is a blog about the Financial Crisis and how the banks and government are colluding against the citizens and homeowners of the State of Texas and relying on a system of #FakeDocs and post-crisis legal precedents, specially created by the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to foreclose on homeowners around this great State. We are not lawyers. We do not offer legal advice. We are citizens of the State of Texas who have spent a decade in the court system in Texas and have been party to during this period to the good, the bad and the very ugly.

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