U.S Bank Settles Mortgage Class Action Over Forced Insurance

U.S. Bank Force-Placed Insurance Class Action Settlement

A settlement has been reached in a class action lawsuit alleging U.S. Bank NA received unauthorized benefits by imposing force-placed insurance policies on borrowers who lacked acceptable coverage.

If you were charged by U.S. Bank for lender-placed insurance you may be eligible for benefits from the class action settlement.

The U.S Bank class action lawsuit involves lender-placed insurance, which is insurance placed on a borrower’s property when the borrower fails to maintain an insurance policy that is acceptable to the mortgage lender or when the borrower’s insurance lapses.

According to the class action lawsuit, U.S. Bank placed the insurance and received “kickbacks” from the insurance companies.  This caused the cost and amount of coverage to be excessive.

The defendants deny the allegations and maintain that their conduct was not unlawful. However, they have agreed to settle.

Class Members of the U.S. Bank force-placed insurance settlement include all U.S. borrowers who, between April 8, 2009 and June 30, 2015, were charged by U.S. Bank under a hazard, flood, flood-gap or wind-only lender-placed insurance (LPI) policy for residential property, and who either paid to U.S. Bank the net premium for that LPI policy or who did not pay and still owe U.S. Bank the net premium for the LPI policy.

NOTE: If you were a Class Member in Stephen Ellsworth v. U.S. Bank NA, et al., Case No. 3:12-cv-02506-LB, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, you are not eligible to participate in this class action settlement.

What you can collect depends on various factors:

  • If you were charged for a hazard force-placed insurance policy on or before Nov. 30, 2011, you will receive 12.5 percent of the net premium.
  • If you were charged for a flood, flood-gap or wind force-placed insurance policy on or after Dec. 1, 2011, you will receive seven percent of the net premium.
  • If you were charged for a flood, flood-gap or wind force-placed insurance policy between Apr. 8, 2009 and June 30, 2015, you will receive seven percent of the net premium.

Class Members who submit timely and valid claims will receive either a cash payment or a reduction in the amount they currently owe U.S. Bank.

CLICK HERE TO FILE A CLAIM »

The Claim Form deadline will be 60 days after the settlement becomes final. According to the settlement website, the Claim Form deadline will be no earlier than Aug. 12, 2016. However this date MAY be extended.

Philip Jackson, et al. v. U.S. Bank NA, et al., Case No. 1:14-cv-21252, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida

Claims Administrator

Claims Administrator
c/o Rust Consulting
P.O. Box 2469
Faribault, MN 55021-9169
1-877-877-0460

Class Counsel

Adam M. Moskowitz
KOZYAK TROPIN & THROCKMORTON PA

Aaron S. Podhurst
PODHURST ORSECK PA

Lance A. Harke
HARKE CLASBY & BUSHMAN LLP

Defense Counsel

Counsel for U.S. Bank:
Skip Durocher
DORSEY & WHITNEY LLP

Counsel for Assurant Defendants:
Frank G. Burt
CARLTON FIELDS JORDEN BURT PA

If you need further info, contact Attorney Linda Fessler at 213-446-6766 for a free consultation.

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What Causes Chest Pain After a Car Accident?

Chest Pain After a Car Accident

If a person is in a car accident and complains of chest pain, it can be serious.

Chest pain can be caused by abdominal, lung, and heart injuries. They are common results of car accidents.  They can be caused by the seatbelt or by the steering wheel.

Abdominal Injuries

Car accidents can cause different types of injuries such as damage to internal organs, internal bleeding, ruptured abdominal aorta, or a ruptured spleen. The most common is broken ribs.  Some common symptoms include tenderness in the rib area and pain while breathing.

Lung Injuries

Car accidents can cause lung injuries, resulting in severe chest pain. A punctured lung is a condition that results when the lung membrane gets punctured due to impact or because of an object penetrating into the lungs. If left untreated, a punctured lung can develop into a collapsed lung.

Heart Injuries

Any injury to the heart can be life threatening. Impact against the steering wheel can cause heart injuries, and in many cases, there are no immediate and evident symptoms. The most commonly reported injury is a myocardial contusion or bruising. Symptoms of these types of injuries include arrhythmias. Many symptoms of heart injuries following car accidents may not appear until a few weeks or even months after the crash.

If you experience chest pain after the accident, you should go to the doctor immediately.

If you are the victim of a car accident, who suffers a serious abdominal, heart or lung injury you will be faced with numerous medical bills. It is important to seek advice from an attorney who can help get the compensation you deserve.

If you have been in a car accident, call Attorney Linda Fessler at 213-446-6766 for a free consultation to discuss your case and the compensation that is available to you.

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Motorcycle Accidents and the Cost of Surviving

Motorcycle crashes are among the deadliest of all traffic accidents, due to bike riders’ lack of bodily protection. Motorcyclists are not only more likely to suffer serious bodily injury than other road travelers, but they are also more likely to be killed as the result of crashes.  The most serious injuries facing motorcyclists are those which result in brain trauma.

Brain Trauma

Brain trauma can be caused either as the direct result of a crash, be it with another vehicle or a stationary object such as a electric pole, or as a result of the force of the rider’s head hitting the ground after the initial impact. Such crashes can be particularly dangerous, and can result in various severe injuries including concussions and traumatic brain injuries.

Concussion

Concussions can occur when the brain is violently shaken against the inside of the skull, resulting in a mild traumatic brain injury. Symptoms of concussion include relatively minor effects such as headaches and nausea, to more serious effects such as reduced reaction times and the temporary loss of brain functions. Even motorcyclists wearing helmets have a high probability of concussion because the helmet does not fully protect the brain from moving in the skull after impact.

Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)

Simply riding a motorcycle puts you at risk of suffering a major traumatic brain injury in the event of a crash. Symptoms of a major traumatic brain injury include effects, such as: dizziness, sensitivity to light and sounds, loss of consciousness, confusion and disorientation.

More serious long term effects of TBI include: depression, memory loss, loss of coordination, permanent loss of faculties or ability to use limbs, or death.

 

The Cost of Surviving

If you have survived a motorcycle crash, you are likely facing medical expenses and a fight to recover. There are various legal options to recover money damages for your injuries.

If you have been the victim of a motorcycle crash, contact Attorney Linda Fessler at 213-446-6766 to discuss your case and learn more about the compensation that is available to you. 

 

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Product Liability and E-cigarette Lawsuits

The effects of e-cigarettes on your long-term health are still unknown and a topic of  controversy. But there is an immediate danger faced by vapers that smokers do have to contend with. E-cigarettes can explode, sometimes on the charger, but also in your mouth causing severe injuries and disfigurement. The risk of explosions is so great that the U.S. Department of Transportation banned e-cigarettes from checked luggage on planes.

Horrifying Explosions

In 2015, a Colorado Springs man was hospitalized in critical condition after his e-cigarette exploded in his mouth. He suffered burns to his mouth, shattered teeth, facial fractures and a broken neck.

Rachel Berven’s e-cigarette exploded in her mouth and spewed battery acid over her leaving her with cracked teeth, facial scars, and burns on her legs.

In 2015, Joseph Cavins lost the sight in one eye when his e-cigarette exploded, smashing two cheekbones, according to the lawsuit he and his wife filed for his injuries.

In 2016, CBS reported that an e-cigarette had exploded in a man’s mouth, sending him to the hospital for more than a week. Several of his teeth were shattered. A piece was embedded in his tongue and had to be surgically removed. He suffered second degree burns. His tongue and lips had to be repaired.

Exploding E-Cigarette Lawsuits

According to the Wall Street Journal, dozens of lawsuits have been filed, in several states, as a result of exploding e-cigarettes. One of the difficulties with e-cigarette lawsuits is that most of the devices, like many defective products, are made in China. That means compensation must be sought from others along the supply chain.

But, that should not prevent victims of e-cigarette explosions from recovering compensation. In October, 2015, a Riverside jury awarded $1.9 million to a California woman who suffered second degree burns to her buttocks, upper thighs, and hand when her e-cigarette exploded while charging. Although the device was made in China, she was able to win by suing the distributor, wholesaler, and retailer.

If you were injured by a defective e-cigarette, call Attorney Linda Fessler at 213-446-6766 for a free consultation.

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$2 Billion Ocwen Whistleblower Lawsuit

This whistleblower lawsuit alleges that Ocwen gave false information to the federal government, resulting in its executives receiving billions in incentive payments.

The whistleblower lawsuit was filed in 2014, and alleged that Ocwen lied about their compliance with the Home Affordable Modification Program guidelines.

These guidelines are designed to lower interest rates and payments of homeowners, as well as provide major assistance by extending terms and forgiving principal in order to avoid foreclosure.

The plaintiffs further claim that Ocwen lied to the federal government, submitting false certifications as well as other false information regarding one of their programs.

The program led to homeowners losing their property and allowed Ocwen executives to receive approximately $2 billion in incentive payments, not from Ocwen, but from the federal government. (The Ocwen Whistleblower Lawsuit is the United States of America et al v. Ocwen Loan Servicing LLC et al., Case No. 4:12-cv-00543.)

Whistleblower Lawsuits

The federal government relies on the help of whistleblowers in companies to report and expose deception, from lying in reports to healthcare or financial fraud.

Taking on the role of a whistleblower is intimidating for employees; they fear that they could be  fired. However, there are laws to ensure that whistleblowers are protected from such a discriminatory action.

Because of the important role of a whistleblower in exposing fraud against the government, the whistleblower is usually awarded a substantial portion of the whistleblower lawsuit settlement money. This can be between 15 and 30 percent.

If you are of the opinion that your current or former employer is acting fraudulently against the federal government, you may be able to call attention to this problem by filing a whistleblower lawsuit.

In general, whistleblower and qui tam lawsuits are filed individually by each plaintiff and are not class actions. Whistleblowers can only join this investigation if they are reporting fraud against the government, meaning that the government must be the victim, and that the alleged fraud should be a substantial loss of money.

If you think you have a whistleblower claim, call Attorney Linda Fessler at 213-446-6766 for a free consultation.

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Class action lawsuit alleges mortgage companies defrauded elderly homeowners who had reverse mortgages

There is currently a class action lawsuit against reverse mortgage companies accused of conspiring to defraud borrowers.

Taking out a reverse mortgage on your home seems like a sensible way to pay for needed repairs and preserve the house for your heirs.

But a $5 million class-action lawsuit filed this month alleges that two mortgage companies conspired to defraud thousands of elderly clients by charging them for home inspections that were illegal. The charges were added to their loan amounts, resulting in less equity in the house.

Reverse mortgages, also known as home-equity conversions, allow older homeowners to tap into the equity in their homes while continuing to live in them. Only people 62 or older are eligible. No payments are owed to the lender as long as the homeowner lives in the house. The owner continues to pay taxes, insurance and maintenance costs and keeps the title to the home, but once he or she dies, moves out or sells it, the loan and interest must be paid before any remaining money goes to the estate.

If a borrower fails to keep up with taxes or insurance, he or she goes into default and the mortgage company can foreclose on the house. If a loan is in default, the company is allowed to conduct “drive-by” home inspections to assess the state of the property and verify that the owner is living there. The cost of the inspection is added to the amount of the loan.

While such inspections are generally limited by law to once every 30 days, the suit says, that Texas-based Champion Mortgage Co., used automated software to trigger “repeated, unreasonable, and unnecessary” inspections several times a week or even more than once a day and charged thousands of home owners for them.

Champion contracts with a Michigan-based company, Celink, to do the inspections. That company is also named in the suit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia

One of the lead plaintiffs in the case fell behind on her property taxes.  Champion sued to foreclose on her home. Legal Counsel for the Elderly, an affiliate of AARP, helped her negotiate a repayment plan, and the suit was dismissed in April.

During the process, a lawyer at LCE noticed extra charges in the homeowner’s statements. Four times between 2014 and 2015, she had been charged for two or three inspections in one month. The charges mirrored similar ones levied on other reverse-mortgage clients.

If you need additional info, call Attorney Linda Fessler at 213-446-6766 for a free consultation.

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Eastern State Hospital settles patient death lawsuit for $360,000

Misael Rodriguez, 43, was referred for a mental health evaluation following arrest.

Rodriguez was on location observation, meaning staff had to check on him at least once every 15 minutes

Rodriguez was found unconscious in the bathroom with a cuts, bruises; he died 3 months later without ever regaining consciousness

Eastern State Hospital has paid $360,000 to settle a lawsuit over the 2013 death of a patient who family members said was assaulted by another patient.

The hospital reached a settlement with the family of Misael Rodriguez on March 30 after the family filed a $2.5 million wrongful death lawsuit in 2014.

Rodriguez, 43, was a patient in the hospital’s forensic ward, where he had been referred for a mental health evaluation following an arrest, the family’s attorney. He was found bleeding and unconscious in a hospital bathroom on Aug. 26, 2013, and died that November at a long-term care facility without ever regaining consciousness.

The family’s lawsuit alleged Rodriguez was attacked by another patient who was under extra observation by the staff at the time because he’d committed at least three unprovoked assaults on other patients in July 2013. Rodriguez was on location observation, meaning staff had to check on him at least once every 15 minutes because he was engaging in behavior making him “susceptible to assault by other patients.”

Video cameras from the hospital showed the other patient entering the bathroom shortly after Rodriguez. The lawsuit states that allowing the men to be together in a closed space with no observation violated hospital policies and safety procedures.

The Spokane County Sheriff’s Office was called to the hospital around 9 p.m., about four hours after Rodriguez was found, Sheriff’s Office spokesman Deputy Mark Gregory said. By that point, Rodriguez had been taken to the hospital and the bathroom had been cleaned.

Rodriguez was found in the bathroom several minutes later with a cut above his eye and bruising. Blood was also found on multiple walls of the toilet. The lawsuit said an assault is the most likely explanation for the injuries found on both sides of Rodriguez’s head, but Eastern State Hospital and the Department of Social and Health Services, which runs the hospital, deny an assault took place.

“Law enforcement investigated the circumstances and found no evidence of criminal activity. The medical examiner determined the patient’s death was the result of natural causes,” the hospital said in a statement.

The Spokane County Sheriff’s Office was called to the hospital around 9 p.m., about four hours after Rodriguez was found, Sheriff’s Office spokesman Deputy Mark Gregory said. By that point, Rodriguez had been taken to the hospital and the bathroom had been cleaned.

“Everything had been cleaned up so there was no crime scene,” Gregory said.

No autopsy was performed on Rodriguez, and the cause of death listed on his death certificate was pneumonia secondary to another illness or serious injury.

The family attorney had not been retained by the family when the autopsy decision was made and wasn’t sure why no autopsy was performed.

“It was unusual. Usually under these circumstances an autopsy would be performed,” he said.

If you have experienced a similar situation, do not wait as this family did. Please call Attorney Linda Fessler at 213-446-6766 for a free consultation.

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The Most Common Types of Injuries After an Auto Crash

Car accidents can cause personal injury.  There are some types of injuries that are more common than others. The person that is hurt will often experience not just physical trauma, but emotional and mental trauma. In some cases, these injuries can lead to permanent disability, or even death.

Because car accidents often result from fast moving vehicles coming to a rapid halt, many of the injuries seen after car accidents are similar. Below is a list of the most common forms of injury:

  • Brain and Head Trauma – The movement of the brain within the skull can cause very serious injuries. Concussions, internal bleeding, and brain damage can all occur without outward visible signs of damage.
  • Neck Trauma – The neck supports the head, which is rather heavy. When stopping suddenly or changing direction abruptly, the weight of the head can cause the neck to bend in unnatural ways, causing damage to muscles, tendons and ligaments.
  • Back and Spinal Trauma – These injuries will not always appear immediately, and may require detection by a doctor. They can be quite painful and debilitating. Damaged spinal discs, fractured vertebrae, sprains, and strains can occur.
  • Face Trauma – The face can come in contact with the steering wheel, dashboard, air bags, or front or side glass. Bruises, cuts, and broken teeth or bones can occur, particularly if the person is not wearing a seat belt.
  • Internal Trauma – The internal organs of the human body do not do well in collisions. Even when seat belts are worn, the forces generated in a car crash can cause damage to the heart, lungs, intestines, kidneys, etc. When enough force is applied to injure internal organs, it’s likely that the ribs have been fractured.
  • Psychological Trauma – Psychological and emotional trauma are also experienced. Being disabled can cause feelings of stress, depression, and even post-traumatic stress disorder.

In the event that you are injured in a car accident, call Attorney Linda Fessler at 213-446-6766 for a free consultation.

 

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The Top Ten Reasons to Retain a Lawyer Immediately to Handle Your Personal Injury Claim – Don’t Do It Yourself

 

  1.  It costs you nothing up-front to hire a personal injury lawyer. Most personal injury lawyers represent their injury victims on a contingency fee basis, which means you do not pay anything up-front, and you do not incur any attorneys’ fees unless you are awarded compensation for your injuries or other damages.
  2. Personal injury claims can be very expensive to pursue. There are filing fees, fees for experts, investigators, and reconstructionists. Very few injury victims can afford to pay these fees and costs as they go. Your personal injury lawyer will front the expenses.
  3.  An attorney maintains perspective. As an injury victim, you are prone to put your sense of right and wrong above the legal technicalities. It doesn’t make you wrong in everyday life, but the law will not bend to your sense of fairness. Your case can be thrown out if you make a procedural error, no matter how much you deserve compensation.
  4. People who are severely injured typically underestimate the life-long costs of their injuries, and may ask for far too little in future economic damages. At the same time, you can easily ask for far too much in noneconomic damages. Your lawyer works with experts to make a realistic estimate of your future damages.
  5.  Attorneys have access to experts and other professionals. An established personal injury attorney works with experts and other professionals on a regular basis and knows how to find the best experts for your case. That can include medical experts, financial experts, investigators, etc..
  6.  Attorney have experience with insurance companies. Personal injury attorneys know the tricks that the insurance companies use to low ball injury victims. No amount of research beats experience.
  7.  Knowing when to settle and when to press on. You need to get paid and quickly. Your attorney will know if a settlement offer is fair and worth going for, or if you should hold out for a larger amount.
  8.  Higher settlement offers. If you represent yourself, the defendant’s attorneys will take advantage of you. On the other hand, if you are represented by an attorney, they know what they are up against and are likely to start with a much higher settlement offer which can lead to a speedier resolution and much higher payout.
  9.  Minimizing your risk. If you lose, you could be saddled with attorneys’ fees and other expenses incurred by the other side. Experienced personal injury lawyers will carefully review your case, and will only take it on if they believe they can win. The contingency fee means high risk for your lawyer.
  10.  You need to focus on yourself and getting well. Your energy should go into healing. Personal injury claims involve a lot of paperwork and deadlines. Your personal injury lawyer will let you focus on your health and well-being.

 

If you have had an accident, call Attorney Linda Fessler at 213-446-6766 for a free consultation.

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What to Do after a Motorcycle Accident

Your health after a motorcycle accident is your first concern.  However, the information you are able to gather at a motorcycle accident scene can have a positive impact on any future claim you may file. Here is what you should do when an accident occurs:

Stay at the Scene

If you have been in a motorcycle accident, remain at the scene unless you require immediate medical attention.  Check those involved in the accident for injuries. Call an ambulance and the police, if necessary.  Signal oncoming traffic to proceed with caution by placing flares.

Obtain Information from Driver(s)

Obtain the names, addresses, and phone numbers of individuals involved in the accident as well as their, vehicle license plate, driver’s license, and registration numbers.  Obtain their insurance information: company names and policy numbers.

Identify Witnesses

In addition to obtaining the personal information of the other drivers involved in the accident, write down the names, phone numbers, and addresses of any witnesses at the scene, and try to get their written statements detailing what each observed.

Making Comments and Statements

Do not discuss the accident with anyone except the police officer investigating the scene.  Do not admit that you were at fault, even to the officer.  In the case of an injury accident, reserve any statements for your attorney.

Ask the investigating officer for his or her business card and the incident number so that you can obtain a copy of the accident report.

If you are arrested and taken into custody, do not resist.  An arrest does not automatically mean civil liability.  Once again, refrain from making any statements until you contact a lawyer.

Notes and Pictures

Immediately write down the details of the accident, including where and how it occurred, road and weather conditions, and posted speed limits.  Take photographs of the accident scene to record skid marks, the location of the vehicles involved, and damage to any vehicles and motorcycles.

When to Leave a Motorcycle Accident Scene

Unless you are seriously injured and require immediate medical attention, remain at the motorcycle accident scene to assist others who may be injured.  Call an ambulance, if needed.  Contact the police.  Once you have cooperated with the police and collected the necessary personal information from other drivers and witnesses, you may leave the scene.  See your doctor immediately.  Even serious injuries may not be apparent until days after the accident.

Notify Insurance Company

Notify your insurance company of the accident.  Make sure you have proof of this notification.  Do not make any statements without first consulting your attorney.

Insurance Claims

Any insurance claims made against you should be referred to your insurance company.  Send all legal papers you receive to your insurance company. Never pay or promise to pay any claimant; never sign any documents prior to speaking with your attorney.

 

For further info call Attorney Linda Fessler at 213-446-6766 for a free consultation.

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