In the recent case of McGinnis v. American Home Mortgage Servicing Inc., 2013 WL 5603657(verdict summary), Jane McGinnis, an adult female, suffered extreme mental and emotional stress, and damage to her credit reputation, pecuniary loss, and loss of rental income when the Defendant wrongfully foreclosed on one of seven homes she owned and rented out for investment purposes.
McGinnis, the Plaintiff, entered into a loan with a mortgage company in October 2006 for each of her seven homes and was current on the loans when Defendant was assigned them in October 2009. The Plaintiff claimed that immediately after the assignment, her loans incorrectly showed her as being at least one month behind in payment. The Plaintiff continued to make her monthly payments in the same amounts, since she received no notice her payments had increased, but the Defendant began charging her improper late fees which were subtracted out of her monthly loan payments, causing the loans to appear further delinquent. In addition, the Defendant refused to give her credit for payments she made and ultimately foreclosed on one of her homes after wrongfully claiming she was in default and sold it on the courthouse steps for $25,000, significantly less than its value.
The Plaintiff asserted claims against the Defendant for wrongful foreclosure, conversion, tortious interference with property rights, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and defamation for reporting false information about her and her rental properties to credit bureaus. The Defendant denied these allegations, but on August 22, 2013, the jury found in favor of the Plaintiff, awarding her emotional distress damages of $500,000 and other compensatory damages of $6,000. Most notably, the jury, likely outraged by what it viewed as aggravated malicious wrongdoing and willful misconduct on the part of the Defendant, awarded the Plaintiff $3,000,000 in punitive damages!