Articles Posted in West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals

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Respondent refinanced the mortgage on his home with a loan he obtained from Petitioner. Because Respondent failed to make his monthly loan payments in accordance with the parties' agreement, Petitioner invoked its right to initiate a foreclosure sale of the house. After the foreclosure sale, the property was sold to Petitioner. Because Respondent refused to vacate the house, Petitioner filed an unlawful detainer action. In response, Respondent asserted various counterclaims against Petitioner alleging violations of the West Virginia Consumer Credit and Protection Act. The circuit court conditionally granted Petitioner's motion to dismiss Respondent's counterclaims and additionally certified two questions for the Supreme Court's consideration regarding whether Respondent timely asserted his counterclaims. The Supreme Court concluded that the counterclaims were not timely. View "Tribeca Lending Corp. v. McCormick" on Justia Law

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These two consolidated cases involved a bond for which Hartford Fire Insurance Company (Hartford) was the surety. Each bond principal was sued, and both cases resulted in the entry of default judgments. Hartford was not given notice of either lawsuit against its principals or notice that default judgments were being sought. Hartford learned of the default judgments only after the plaintiffs in those cases sought payment on the bonds. In each case, Hartford ultimately was found liable on the bond. Hartford appealed, asserting that the circuit courts erred in finding the bonds to be judgment bonds and in holding Hartford liable on the bonds under the circumstances. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the two bonds at issue were judgment bonds, and therefore, the circuit courts correctly found that default judgments entered against the bond principals were conclusive and binding against Hartford. View "Hartford Fire Ins. Co. v. Curtis" on Justia Law

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In 1996, Terri Cole and her husband financed the purchase of a home through a loan secured by a deed of trust on the home and the underlying property. In 2005, Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance, Inc. became the servicer of the loan. Code defaulted on her loan in 2010. Vanderbilt foreclosed and purchased the home and real property at a trustee's sale. Thereafter, Cole refused to vacate the home. Vanderbilt filed an unlawful detainer action. Cole counterclaimed, alleging that Vanderbilt had violated the West Virginia Consumer Credit and Protection Act (WVCCPA). Regarding the unlawful detainer claim, the circuit court found in favor of Vanderbilt. As to the remaining issues, the jury found Vanderbilt engaged in several violations of the WVCCPA. The circuit court subsequently awarded civil penalties to Cole totaling $32,125, and, some weeks later, granted Cole's motion for attorney fees and costs. The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court's civil penalties order and award of attorney fees, holding that the circuit court did not commit error with regard to either the civil penalties order or the attorney fees order. View "Vanderbilt Mortgage & Fin., Inc. v. Cole" on Justia Law

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Quicken Loans, Inc., a Michigan corporation and a large national mortgage lender doing business in West Virginia, appealed an order of the circuit court denying post-trial motions for amendment of the circuit court's findings of fact and/or conclusions of law and for offset following a verdict which found it liable for common law fraud and various claims under the West Virginia Consumer Credit and Protection Act in connection with a subprime loan made to Plaintiff. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the order of the circuit court, holding (1) the elements of fraud were not met with regard to Quicken's misrepresentation of loan discount points, but the other acts of fraud were proven by clear and convincing evidence; (2) the circuit court correctly found that, given the particular facts of this case, the terms of the loan and the loan product were unconscionable; (3) the circuit court incorrectly cancelled Plaintiff's obligation to repay the loan principal; and (4) because the circuit court's order in punitive damages lacked the necessary analysis and findings, the Court was unable to conduct an adequate review of the punitive damages award. Remanded. View "Quicken Loans, Inc. v. Brown" on Justia Law

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Defendant and Plaintiffs were co-guarantors of a promissory note signed to obtain a bank loan to pay the debts of the parties' failed corporation. Plaintiffs paid the note from their personal funds. Plaintiffs then filed an action against Defendant seeking contribution for the amounts paid from their personal funds. The circuit court determined Defendant was liable to Plaintiffs for one half the amount they paid from their personal funds and entered a judgment order against Defendant in the amount of $24,081. Defendant subsequently filed a motion for a new trial or, in the alternative, to amend the judgment. The circuit court denied the motion. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the circuit court properly determined that Defendant should pay Plaintiffs $24,081. View "Beverly v. Kent" on Justia Law

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First National Keystone Bank retained an independent accounting firm to audit its records at a time that members of the bank's management were fraudulently concealing the bank's financial condition. The accounting firm issued a clean audit concerning the bank. It was later discovered that the bank had overstated its assets by over $500 million. Upon investigation, the FDIC concluded that the law firm that represented the bank had engaged in legal malpractice. The FDIC settled its claims against the law firm. The accounting firm was later found liable to the FDIC in federal district court for a negligent bank audit. The accounting firm subsequently sued the law firm, alleging fraud, negligent misrepresentation, and tortious interference with the accounting firm's contract to perform the audit. The circuit court granted summary judgment in favor of the law firm. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the claims of the accounting firm against the law firm were, in reality, contribution claims rather than direct or independent claims and were, therefore, barred by the settlement agreement between the law firm and the FDIC.