A homeowner in California is asking the Ninth Circuit to revive his putative class action lawsuit against Ocwen Loan Servicing for submitting false information to credit agencies.
The owner alleges that Ocwen Loan Servicing, part of Ocwen Financial (OCN), told credit agencies that foreclosed-on homeowners were still liable for the unpaid balance of their mortgage loans after the homes were sold.
Jeffrey Kuns in his suit argues that the California Consumer Credit Reporting Agencies Act prohibits “deficiency liability” in these circumstances.
Kuns’ initial suit in California court, filed in July 2012, says he bought a home in Nevada City, California, in June 2005 with a mortgage serviced by Ocwen.
When he was unable to make payments, his home was sold through a nonjudicial foreclosure in December 2009.
Although the law says that Kuns is not liable for the $400,000 difference between the balance of the mortgage Kuns owed and the sale price Ocwen received in the foreclosure sale, Ocwen, Kuns charges, furnished information to credit reporting agencies indicating he was.
Kuns filed the putative class action lawsuit after discovering this on his credit record in June 2011, arguing that he and thousands of other homeowners were victimized by Ocwen’s actions. A putative class action means the alleged injured parties, for now, belong to a hypothetical class. If Kuns is allowed to move forward, he will then be allow to populate that class with real people.
Ocwen asked to have the case removed to federal court, based on the fact the case involved more than $5 million, the federal minimum for total dollar amount being contested.
In April 2013, a U.S. District Court judge dismissed Kuns’ case, saying that Ocwen’s reporting the deficiency balance to credit reporting agencies was neither “inaccurate or incomplete” as the law requires.
Ocwen noted at the time that California law still allowed for deficiency balances to be collected from homeowners. As of publishing Ocwen did not respond to HosuingWire requests for comment.
On Friday, Kuns’ attorney, Ethan Preston, asked a three-judge panel to revive Kuns’ suit, arguing the case hinges on the basic text of the CCRA.
Preston said that CCRA requires that information submitted to credit agencies to not be “inaccurate or incomplete” – and Ocwen’s reporting of homeowners as “personally liable” for the deficiency on their mortgage after a nonjudicial foreclosure is inaccurate.
View the full Ninth Court hearing below.