The Gallatin County, Montana District Court has rejected US Bank’s Motion to reduce a punitive damage award assessed against it by a jury, upholding the $5,000,000.00 award as well as the $1M compensatory damages award on the homeowner’s fraud and constructive fraud claims. The case is McCulley v. US Bank, Cause No. DV09-562C (Montana 18th Judicial District Court). The Order denying US Bank’s Motion to reduce the punitive damage award was entered on April 14, 2014.
The facts of this case are beyond shocking. The 22-page opinion sets out how US Bank intentionally lied to the Court and the homeowner about the underlying transaction and the existence of documents, withheld documents, made the homeowner sign three versions of the loan application while lying to the homeowner that she would receive a specific loan, switching the loan at the last minute, and then foreclosing in order to make a profit of over $350,000.00. The Court also found that the homeowner went from a healthy and athletic individual to one who was severely depressed and attempted a near-successful suicide because of the actions of US Bank.
The Court found that all of the factors to uphold the punitive damages award had been satisfied under Montana law, and that the $5M award was well within US Bank’s ability to pay without serious consequences to it given that US Bank’s Form 10-Q filing with the SEC showed that its net worth was $41,552,000.000 (that’s over $42 and a half BILLION dollars), and that US Bank had a net income for the nine months ending 09/30/13 of over $4.26 billion.
It is thus no wonder why the banks fight requests for jury trials with such vigor. They know that if regular people see the kind of fraudulent conduct which the banks engage in that there will be serious consequences.
When Homeowner’s good faith attempts to amicably work with the Bank in order to resolve the issue fails;
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