I'm astonished - and delighted - to read the ruling of a judge in New York.
A Long Island couple is home free after an outraged judge gave them an amazing Thanksgiving present -- canceling their debt to ruthless bankers trying to toss them out on the street.
Suffolk Judge Jeffrey Spinner wiped out $525,000 in mortgage payments demanded by a California bank, blasting its "harsh, repugnant, shocking and repulsive" acts.
The bombshell decision leaves Diane Yano-Horoski and her husband, Greg Horoski, owing absolutely no money on their ranch house in East Patchogue.
Spinner pulled no punches as he smacked down the bankers at OneWest -- who took an $814.2 million federal bailout but have a record of coldbloodedly foreclosing on any homeowner owing money.
"The bank was so intransigent that he [the judge] decided to punish them," Greg Horoski, 55, said about Spinner's scathing ruling last Thursday against OneWest and its IndyMac mortgage division.
It erased up to $291,000 in principal and $235,000 in interest and penalties.
. . .
Spinner excoriated OneWest for repeatedly refusing to work out a deal, for misleading him about the dollar amounts at stake in the case, and for its treatment of the couple over months of hearings.
OneWest's conduct was "inequitable, unconscionable, vexatious and opprobrious," Spinner wrote.
He canceled the debt because the bank "must be appropriately sanctioned so as to deter it from imposing further mortifying abuse against [the couple]."
The bank is involved in a similar case in California, where it's trying to foreclose on an 89-year-old woman, despite two court orders telling it to stop.
There's more at the link.
Another report gives more details:
The decision came after a series of state-mandated, pre-foreclosure settlement conferences between the lenders and borrowers of subprime loans.
Spinner wrote in his decision: "It was celeritously made clear to the Court that Plaintiff had no good faith intention whatsoever of resolving this matter in any manner other than a complete and forcible devolution of title from Defendant."
The lending institution, represented at a hearing on Sept. 22 by Karen Dickinson, regional manager of loss mitigation for IndyMac, asserted Yano-Horoski owed a debt in excess of $525,000 - and "freely concedes" that the property was worth "no more than" $275,000, Spinner wrote.
He noted that the lender claimed a balance due of $527,437.73, including an escrow overdraft of $46,627.88 for advanced taxes, though the outstanding loan balance was $283,992.48 as of Aug. 10.
The judge noted Yano-Horoski and her husband both had health issues and that IndyMac denied an offer by Yano-Horoski's daughter to purchase the home at fair-market value - a move that would have created "a win-win situation" for all the parties involved. He also noted that Dickinson "insisted" that Yano-Horoski had been offered a so-called "Forbearance Agreement" but had "quickly defaulted" on it, which then led to the foreclosure action.
However, Spinner said that "it was only after substantial prodding by the Court that Ms. Dickinson conceded, with great reluctance, that it [the Forbearance Agreement] had not been sent to [the] Defendant until after its stated first payment due date."
Which meant, Spinner wrote, that Yano-Horoski could not have consummated the agreement - and that, through what he called the "Plaintiff's duplicity," found herself "in the unique and uncomfortable position of being placed in default of the 'agreement' even before she had received it."
. . .
In his decision, Spinner noted that while IndyMac "purports to be the servicer of the loan" for Deutsche Bank, the actual record holder of the mortgage is IndyMac Bank F.S.B. - an entity, he said in his decision, "which no longer is in existence."
The judge ordered that the adjustable rate bank note issued Aug. 4, 2004, is "hereby canceled, voided, nullified, set aside and is of no further force and effect," and also ordered that the lender and its successors are "barred, prohibited and foreclosed from attempting, in any manner, directly or indirectly, to enforce any provision of" the mortgage loan.
Again, there's more at the link.
If the details of this case have been correctly reported, it sounds to me like the judge's decision is poetic justice indeed! I hope that this bounces back all over the bank, and that they suffer the consequences of their bad-faith 'bargaining'.
As for Judge Spinner: when's the next SCOTUS vacancy due? We need some sound common sense up there!