Corporate America pays price for arrogance in taking family’s home

Now their Attorney Claims Woman is Inflating her Loss… Really?

Updated December 22, 2009

It does not matter what was in the condo. No matter how rich or poor. It is their personal belongings that were unrightfully, illegally taken from them. Even if it was just a keepsake of a family member, a simple trinket of a memory. It is about owning up and taking responsibility. This type of arrogance  by the banks and their thugs needs to stop. If not, next time it could be you. Who is to stop them?

“I don’t think anything excuses the fact that there was a mistake and that damage should be paid for,” Marquis said. What must be determined now is how much is the mistake worth?

“My clients made a potential offer, I think, of $5,000, but she came back and is asking for $200,000 and that’s not going to happen,”

Last time it cost the fraudsters allot of money.

Country Wide Home Loans v. Thitchener

Corporate America pays price for arrogance in taking family’s home
John L. Smith

A stone against a giant. David dropped Goliath with a well-placed rock. But in corporate America, the best most little guys can hope for is putting a knot on the giant’s noggin and escaping with a little cash.

That, in short, is what Gerald and Katrina Thitchener and their children have to show for their courtroom victory over mortgage lending behemoth Countrywide Home Loans.

Friday’s jury verdict was swift and in a better world would have sent a message to all big, arrogant corporations: “Clean up your act.”

The couple won $922,690 to compensate them for having their home wrongly foreclosed and sold.

They were awarded $2.5 million in punitive damages after a jury found the obvious: The arrogant giant failed to apologize for accidentally selling off their condominium and destroying their personal property.

It was hardball from the start.

Why?

Big corporations know hardball works because most little guys can’t go the distance.

When I first reported the Thitcheners’ plight in January 2004, they were struggling to keep their case alive after hiring attorneys Terry Coffing and Terry Moore.

Gerald was a former Air Force F-16 mechanic who moved to Tucson after his Air National Guard unit was activated. Katrina followed with the couple’s children and left the condo near Nellis Air Force Base locked and partially filled with their possessions.

In a screw-up Countrywide only later admitted partial responsibility for, the Thitcheners’ unit was mistakenly foreclosed and sold. Their personal items, including photos and Katrina’s wedding dress, were thrown out.

Most of the material facts in the case were settled prior to trial. Damning depositions revealed that the company’s mistakes cost the Thitcheners dearly.

But it’s what followed that should anger everyone in the valley. Instead of owning up, the company lawyered up.

It was asinine, but it’s also the way of corporate America.

No doubt the Thitcheners’ attorneys salivated at the obvious jury appeal of the story of an Air Force mechanic getting pushed around by a large corporation, but then the facts endorsed the assessment. Among many: The Thitcheners continued to make their mortgage payments from Arizona and to pay the condo’s light bill. They’d abandoned nothing; they’d merely relocated.

Countrywide denied its blunder was “willful and deliberate” and shouldn’t be punished for merely taking away a family’s home and belongings. That’s arrogance personified.

On Friday, a jury agreed.

While appeals are possible, Countrywide would be wise to let this debacle fade.

The company wouldn’t even admit the family lost anything of real value. Admittedly, family photos and a wedding dress are hard to put a price on, but they’re even harder to replace.

Ask yourself this: What are your family photos worth? And how about all those other items of sentimental and personal value?

Better yet, what do you suppose Countrywide’s CEO would have done if someone had swiped his home?

The manhunt would be on.

Ask yourself what you would be tempted to do to a person who, while you were off on military duty, stole your house and sold it?

The Thitcheners will get a majority of the nearly $3.5 million they were awarded from a company that in 2004 netted $2.2 billion.

The award must look like a fortune to the Thitcheners, who had trouble paying their monthly bills; but to the giant it’s a veritable write-off.

It’s naive to think the judgment will teach a large corporation a lesson in customer relations. Such decisions usually don’t make life better for other victimized families. On the contrary. A lawyer is probably already drafting additional “hold harmless” language to make it even tougher to litigate future mistakes.

Instead of improving training, there will be checks cut in the name of tort reform. It’s easier for some companies to change definitions than admit mistakes.

That $3.5 million won’t change the world, but it will buy a nice new house for the Thitcheners with plenty left over.

A stone against a giant.

Hey, Goliath, how’s that head feel now?

John L. Smith’s column appears Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. E-mail him at Smith@reviewjournal.com or call 383-0295.

4closureFraud
http://4closurefraud.org/

In respone to: “Trashed Out” Las Vegas Woman Victim of Foreclosure Mistake

Other Trash Outs and “Mistakes”…

Wrongfully trashed-out, an Oregon property owner says – OregonLive.com

My Bad! Woman’s House Mistakenly Auctioned by Bank | NBC Miami

Bank Mistakenly Starts Foreclosure Process On Wrong House

Leslie Parks Illegally Locked Out of Her Home by IndyMac/One West

IndyMac Intent On Foreclosing On 89-Year Old Widow, Despite Two Court Orders Telling Them To Stop

“Pretender Lender” IndyMac Defies Court Order in Yano-Horoski Case!!!

Pattern Here? Hmmm…

Oh, and one more thing… I wonder if the foreclosing entity had legal standing to even foreclose? Just because someone claims  you owe them something it doesn’t mean you do.

Follow the money…

Foreclosure Fraud – Guide to Looking Up Public Records for Fraud

4closureFraud

Comments
5 Responses to “Corporate America pays price for arrogance in taking family’s home”
  1. Lisa E. says:

    From the comments of that story! GREAT COMMENT!

    Linda
    I watched the 11:00 news. Thank you for not showing negative pictures of her home. Who does this so called public relations monster think he is turning her into a criminal.
    They have taken a safe nest away from this lady. A person’s home is a place to feel safe from criminal.s The employees who clean this condo do not have background checks. Any one of them could be anything from a rapist to a murders. They basically did a home invaision and changed her locks. So they could do the same thing again every time she gets new locks. The man on the news should allow her to go to his home and destroy baby pictures and family keepsakes and everything else and get $5000 to replace irreplacable items. Oh he is rich: she would go to jal. Banks, realtors and cleanup people are apparently above the law. AT the very least the bank should payoff her home., home insurance and taxes until she decides to sell.

  2. Lisa E. says:

    WOW!

    In previous years, this would be SHOCKING.

    It’s pretty business as usual, par for the course, and a corporate threat to us all!

    Which is worse?

    I guess it’s a tough call.

    Banks which never lent one single dime towards a family’s mortgage foreclosing on American’s homes by the millions even though that bank isn’t damaged one single bit by the homeowner’s missed monthly payments?

    OR

    “Accidentally” aiming that illegal foreclosure on the wrong home?

    Really, aren’t they BOTH the same thing?

    Give it a couple of years………..we’ll all be TRASHED OUT!

    Lisa E.
    http://www.ForeclosureHamlet.org

Trackbacks
Check out what others are saying...


Leave a Reply