Joel Sucher, Contributor
Susan Richardson, a Bank of America foreclosure victim, certainly hopes so. With bated breath she’s following a drama currently playing out in a California bankruptcy court.
“Battle-fatigued demoralization” is how Judge Christopher Klein described the condition of Erik and Renee Sundquist when he fined Bank of America a sweet $45 million for having illegally foreclosed on their home in Lincoln, California. The couple had been in the trenches for more than eight years doing battle with the same Mega-Bank that had led thousands of homeowners down a primrose path to foreclosure. It was all done via smoke and mirrors — a very tricky-dicky maneuver — and the spiel to homeowners desperate for modifications went like this: stop paying your monthly loan payments, don’t send us any more checks, then we’ll consider your for mod. Counter-intuitive, yes, but the Sundquists hoping for a more affordable monthly nut during hard economic times took the bait (they had previously been up-to-date with payments). They quickly found that bait turned into bait and switch. Like thousands of others they fell victim to what’s known as “dual tracking.” On one hand Bank of America officials continued to encourage the couple to apply for a modification — some 20 applications were fielded by the Sundquists — but with a sleight of the other hand, Bank of America was quietly rolling out foreclosure’s red carpet. Eventually, the bank got what it wanted: the Sundquist’s home, and all the couple got was agita rising to the level of PTSD. Erik Sundquist was sent packing to the hospital with a stress-related heart condition. Renee Sundquist attempted suicide. Judge Klein, reviewing the case, found that the stream of applications proffered by the Sundquists were “routinely either lost or declared insufficient, or incomplete or stale or in need of resubmission or denied without comprehensible explanation.”
PiggyBankBlog Bailiff: “All rise! The Honorable Judge John Wright has left the Courtroom of Public Opinion!”