Ocwen Seeks New Trial After $400k Verdict Loss

Bryan Cave attorneys contend federal jury received prejudicial instructions in Fair Credit Reporting Act case in Colorado

Persistent errors in a Parker woman’s credit report culminated in a six-figure verdict against her mortgage loan company. But the company is looking to have that verdict erased.

A Colorado federal jury awarded a Valerie Jeffers $400,000 over claims that her mortgage loan servicer willfully neglected to investigate inaccuracies in her credit report and violated their prior settlement. In addition to actual damages, the jury hit the defendant company, Ocwen Loan Servicing, with $360,000 in punitive damages under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

But attorneys at Bryan Cave who are representing the Florida-based company filed a motion on March 22 for a new trial. They claim that the jury received overly restrictive, prejudicial instructions on what constitutes an “investigation”under the FCRA. They also contend the $360,000 awarded in punitive damages, which is nearly 15 times the actual FCRA damages, was unconstitutionally high.

Senior U.S. District Judge Wiley Daniel, who presided over the trial, has ordered a hearing on Ocwen’s motion. Jeffers’ attorney must file a response by April 13, and the hearing is set for May 23.

To read this story and other complete articles featured in the April 2, 2017 print edition of Law Week Colorado, copies are available for purchase online.