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Mueller v. Specialized Loan Servicing, LLC

United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Charlottesville Division

March 9, 2016

Susan C. Mueller, Plaintiff,
v.
Specialized Loan Servicing, LLC, ET AL., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

NORMAN K. MOON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

This matter is before the Court upon Defendant Specialized Loan Servicing, LLC’s (“SLS”) motion to dismiss Plaintiff’s complaint. For the following reasons, I will grant SLS’s motion.[1]

I. Facts as Alleged

Plaintiff Susan Mueller purchased a home in Palmyra, Virginia, in 2006. She signed a mortgage loan with Washington Mutual Inc. (“WAMU”) in order to finance the purchase of the property. The loan had a principal of approximately $300, 000, was for a thirty-year term at a fixed interest rate of approximately seven percent per annum, and had monthly payments of approximately $2, 200.

In April 2007, Mueller discussed with Cory Hill of Countrywide Home Loans, Inc. (“Countrywide”), the possibility of refinancing her mortgage. Hill represented to Mueller that refinancing would result in a principal amount of approximately $307, 000, would be for a thirty-year term at a lower fixed interest rate, and would have monthly payments of approximately $1, 400.

In May 2007, a representative of Countrywide visited Mueller’s property so that Mueller could sign a document finalizing the refinancing of the WAMU loan. The representative arrived on a holiday weekend and did not allow Mueller to read the documents before signing. Mueller nevertheless did sign the documents. Countrywide never provided Mueller with copies of the refinancing documents.

Mueller was shocked to learn upon receiving her first monthly payment notice that the mortgage was an adjustable rate mortgage with an initial monthly payment of $3, 800, and that the principal of the loan had increased to $324, 000.[2] Mueller immediately protested to Hill that the terms of the loan were different than what he had represented to her, and Hill assured Mueller that the terms of the first statement were in error and that they would soon be corrected. Trusting Hill, Mueller complied with Countrywide’s payment requests.

Mueller lost contact with Hill sometime after June 2007. Hill left Countrywide, and the office in which Hill worked closed. Mueller thereafter contacted other Countrywide personnel, who assured her that the terms of the refinancing were in error and would be corrected. Mueller continued to make the requested monthly payments to Countrywide in anticipation that Countrywide would correct the terms of the loan.

On January 8, 2008, Countrywide failed as a company and was acquired by BOA. Mueller contacted BOA and made continued and repeated attempts to correct the terms of the Countrywide loan. Mueller nevertheless continued to make monthly payments as requested by BOA.

In mid-2012, Mueller applied for a loan modification with BOA pursuant to the federal Home Affordable Modification Program (“HAMP”). In or before August 2012, BOA agreed to modify Mueller’s loan to a thirty-year fixed rate loan with the principal amount reduced by $150, 000. In August 2012, BOA directed Mueller to stop making mortgage payments pending finalization of Mueller’s applied-for HAMP modification, and Mueller complied with this request.

On December 11, 2012, BOA sold its interest in the Countrywide loan to HSBC Bank USA. BOA did so without Mueller’s knowledge, and did so without completing the promised HAMP modification. BOA nevertheless continued to service the loan for some time, and BOA continually assured Mueller that no payments were due and that the HAMP modification would be forthcoming.

At some point after December 11, 2012, SLS began servicing the Countrywide loan. Soon thereafter, SLS began making numerous threatening and harassing telephone calls to Mueller. Representatives of SLS made repeated visits property for at least a two year period. They posted notices, threatened foreclosure, broke locks, and otherwise harassed Mueller.

SLS began foreclosure proceedings on June 19, 2014, but the proceedings were delayed because Mueller filed for bankruptcy protection on July 9, 2014. The bankruptcy was dismissed for procedural reasons on December 9, 2014.

During the bankruptcy case, Mueller became aware that the deed of trust recorded on May 25, 2007, for the Countrywide loan was ...


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