justia.com | September 14, 2015
Avila v. CitiMortgage, Inc.
|Court: U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
|Opinion Date: September 4, 2015
|Areas of Law: Banking, Contracts, Real Estate & Property Law
Avila bought his Chicago home with a $100,500 CitiMortgage loan. Five years later, a fire made the house uninhabitable. Avila’s insurance carrier paid out $150,000. CitiMortgage took control of the proceeds and paid $50,000 to get the restoration underway. CitiMortgage later inspected the work and found that it needed to be redone. By then Avila had missed several mortgage payments. CitiMortgage applied the remaining $100,000 toward Avila’s outstanding mortgage loan. Avila’s home was not repaired. CitiMortgage never claimed that restoration was economically infeasible or would reduce its security interest. Nor had any of three special conditions described in the mortgage occurred. Avila sued, alleging breach of fiduciary duty and the mortgage contract, seeking to represent a class of defaulting CitiMortgage borrowers whose insurance proceeds had been applied to their mortgage loans rather than repairs. The district court dismissed, reasoning that the allegations did not support a fiduciary duty on CitiMortgage’s part and Avila was barred from pursuing his contract claim because he had materially defaulted on his own obligations. The Seventh Circuit agreed that allegations of a fiduciary relationship were inadequate as a matter of law, but held that a claim that the mortgage agreement remained enforceable after his missed payments was plausible in light of the agreement’s structure and the remedies it prescribes in the event of default.
Nancy Duffy McCarron, CBN 164780
Attorney, Real Estate Broker, BBB Arbitrator, CA Notary Public
Certified Forensic Loan Auditor, Property Manager
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