Trashed Out – Lawsuit Accuses Bank of America of Seizing Wrong House

Here we go again…

By Laura Elder
The Daily News
Published January 10, 2010

GALVESTON — A West End property owner is suing Bank of America Corp., asserting its agents mistakenly seized a vacation house he owns free and clear, then changed the locks and shut the power off, resulting in the smelly spoiling of about 75 pounds of salmon and halibut from an Alaska fishing trip and other damages.

Dr. Alan Schroit filed the lawsuit Monday in the 122nd State District Court in Galveston against the bank with which he has neither a relationship nor a mortgage.

Schroit, a retired professor at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, is suing for wrongful invasion of his house in the 4100 block of Green Heron Drive in the Pointe West subdivision.

He filed the lawsuit after he and Bank of America were unable to agree on a settlement, attorney Barry A. Brown said.

Bank of America officials on Friday said they had not had an opportunity to review the lawsuit and typically decline to comment on pending litigation. But the bank is familiar with the case.

“Based on previous discussions with Mr. Schroit, we do not believe the case will show merit,” spokesman Rick Simon said.

Brown has dubbed the case “Halloween Horror.”

Schroit, his wife and some friends arrived at the house Oct. 31 to prepare for about 30 guests to arrive the next day for a party, Schroit said.

When Schroit’s wife tried to unlock the door, the key wouldn’t work, he said. They noticed a poster with the message that the house had been seized by Bank of America in a foreclosure.

“We have nothing to do with Bank of America,” Schroit said.

Schroit called an emergency number on the poster and got a recording advising him to call back during normal office hours during the week, he said.

Schroit said he suspects the bank was really after a house with the same address number on the next street.

Agents working for Bank of America cut off power to the property by turning off the main switch in the lower part of the house, according to the lawsuit. They also changed the locks, so Schroit was unable to reach the switch to turn the power back on, according to the lawsuit.

The Schroits called the police and finally managed to get into the top part of their house, only to be hit by an “overpowering putrid smell of rotten fish,” according to the lawsuit.

The power had been off for about a week, Schroit said.

The Schroits had planned to grill some of the fish for the party.

“It was the most unbearable stench,” Schroit said. “It was so unbearable the police officer asked if we could leave the house so he could take the report; it was absolutely horrible, a gooey mess.”

The Schroits returned to Houston and told people they had invited that the party had been canceled.

“The property sustained water damage, potential mold contamination arising from the standing freezer residue, water, heat and high humidity conditions during the time the electrical power was off,” according to the lawsuit.

Schroit said he kept doors and windows open for days to try to rid the house of the foul odor. Cleanup efforts were substantial, he said.

The floors had to be cleaned, as did the joists of a lower-level ceiling, through which fish blood seeped, and some painting had to done to get the house back to a “preinvasion” state, according to the lawsuit.

Although Bank of America said it would investigate, it did not aid the Schroits, according to the lawsuit.

Schroit’s lawsuit is at least the second in which Bank of America has been accused of seizing the wrong house.

According to an Oct. 30 article in the Floyd County Times, a Wheelwright, Ky., man filed a lawsuit against Bank of America for repossessing his home by mistake and refusing to pay for damages other than replacing the locks.

“Christopher Hamby arrived home on Oct. 5 to find the locks on his doors changed and winterization chemicals placed in the plumbing and various lines cut at the residence,” according to the article.

Hamby also did not have a mortgage with Bank of America, according to the article.

Schroit said he understands mistakes happen. But he said agents working for the bank trespassed and invaded his house.

“I understand everyone makes mistakes, but they should be responsible for their mistakes,” Schroit said. “The whole way it’s being handled makes no sense to me.”


13 Responses to “Trashed Out – Lawsuit Accuses Bank of America of Seizing Wrong House”
  1. Joe says:

    I have just read 5 other news stories posted in the past few months involving Bank of America doing the same thing to other people around the country. Seizing property that they have no claim on. And in every case, BOA refuses to pay any damages to anyone for seizing the wrong house! One lady even had here beloved pet parrot stolen by the bank representitives during the ordeal!

  2. Lisa E. says:

    DITTO my previous comments on this issue as follows:


    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?


    “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

  3. hannahb says:

    If it WAS the right house shouldn’t the bank have made sure it wasn’t destroyed? If the point was to get their money back, maybe they should not trash the place.
    Why are their no fact checkers making sure this house is the house to be siezed and the owners listed are the owners the bank seeks? It’s as easy as going to the town website and checking property tax records.
    Are these houses being fraudulantly ‘sold’ without the owners permission in order to get loans (with no intent to pay)? Could that be done?

  4. Eric says:

    I’m incredulous…how do seize the WRONG house?!?!

  5. Dave,

    BOA cant offer them a loan mod!

    Neither one had a mortgage with them!


    • Lisa E. says:

      With all due respect, Mr. ForeclosureFraud, NONE of the entities “negotiation” loan mods own the promissary note/deed of trust and/or mortgage.

      So, in this particularly fishy scenerio, a loan mod with BoA would be the right way for BoA to extend an Olive Branch, no?

      What I’m trying to say here, is that if a gaggle of investors paid for my mortgage, and I’m desperately trying to do a loan mod with BoA who continues to tell me that BoA is the right party to do the loan mod, isn’t that the same thing as Dave so sagely posited below?

      I’m game:

      BoA: “Yes Dr. Schroit, your house is a bit of a mess. We feel this is an appropriate matter for our loss mitigation department. They will be in touch with you to fully assist you in modifying your loan.”

      Dr. Schroit: “What? I need help rehabbing my damaged home. I don’t need a loan mod with BoA. I don’t owe any money to BoA. My mortgage is with a private mortgage holder.”

      BoA: “Oh Silly Dr. Schroit! We mortgage bankers don’t let the fact of our non-ownership of a mortgage loan get in the way of our foreclosure efforts, nor our big bluff of offering temporary loan modifications! Get with the program, Sir!”

  6. Dave L says:

    “He filed the lawsuit after he and Bank of America were unable to agree on a settlement, attorney Barry A. Brown said.”

    Wow..if this guy is above above board here I would have reacted with much less restraint!!

    The Schoit’s and Hambley’s need to extract a pound of flesh out of this mess…and then some.

    Maybe BOA will offer them a loan mod?!?!

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