AFRCT Secures Dismissal of Three Putative Class Actions Challenging Loan Modification Procedures

AFRCT attorneys were part of a defense team that secured the dismissal of three putative class actions filed against Wells Fargo Home Mortgage in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. The cases are: Murphy v. Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, D’Alessio v. Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, and McDermed v. Wells Fargo Home Mortgage. 2013 U.S. Dist. Lexis 118410 (N.D. Cal. Aug. 19, 2013).

The three related cases alleged breaches of a loan modification program provided for in a separate class action settlement in the case In re: Wachovia Corp. “Pick-A-Payment” Mortg. Mktg. & Sales Practices Litig. The alleged breaches arose from the application of hardship criteria in assessing loan modification applications, the use of certain appraisal methods for loan modifications, and the mailing of multiple class notices to borrowers who previously had obtained modified loans. Prior to filing the Murphy, D’Alessio, and McDermed cases, class counsel filed an enforcement motion in the original case seeking injunctive relief for alleged breaches of the settlement’s loan modification program. Replacement Windows Toronto - Construction company with years of experience in building houses, installations of windows, doors, and all that is associated with your carefree life. Quality of work has brought us to the first place among the competitors!

On August 19, 2013, the District Court entered an order dismissing all three putative class action complaints, without leave to amend, and entered judgment in favor of defendants. In doing so, the District Court applied the federal doctrine against claim splitting, which bars the litigation of duplicate actions where a plaintiff attempts to “split up his demand, and prosecute it by piecemeal.” United States v. Haytian Republic, 154 U.S. 118, 125, 14 S. Ct. 992, 38 L. Ed. 930 (1894) (quoting Stark v. Starr, 94 U.S. 477, 482, 24 L. Ed. 276 (1876)). The rule prevents ‘“the defendant from being harassed by repetitive actions based on the same claim.’” Clements v. Airport Authority of Washoe County, 69 F.3d 321, 328 (9th Cir. 1995).

The District Court found that the claims in each putative class action improperly duplicated claims that were raised, or could have been raised, in already-pending enforcement proceedings filed by class counsel in the original case. The Court stated that “[g]iven the availability and active pursuit of these claims in the original forum, the only appropriate resolution here is dismissal without leave to amend of these duplicative actions.” 2013 U.S. Dist. Lexis 118410, at *26. The District Court concluded that plaintiffs may not subject defendants to “repetitive, potentially endless lawsuits arising out of the same or similar theories. . .” 2013 U.S. Dist. Lexis 118410, at *29.

AFRCT attorneys representing Wells Fargo included Mark Flewelling, Jeremy Shulman, Gene Wu, and Leigh Curran.

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