SANTA ANA, Calif.–(HISPANIC PR WIRE – BUSINESS WIRE)–Oct. 22, 2002–Orange County Superior Court Judge James P. Gray tentatively ruled in favor of granting Plaintiffs’ request for a preliminary injunction today. The parties have entered into an agreement in principle, and are scheduled to return to Court on Tuesday, November 5, 2002 unless they can show the Court prior to that date that the matter has been settled in Alonso vs. Washington Mutual. Judge Gray acknowledged that the parties had been responsive to his October 8, 2002 admonition to Washington Mutual (NYSE:WM) to come to terms with the Plaintiffs and with California Reconveyance Company and Greg Metcalf, the other defendants in the case. Browne Green with the Santa Monica, CA law firm of Greene, Broillet, Panish & Wheeler, LLP and Gregory B. Gershuni with the Los Angeles, CA firm of Gershuni & Imrich, LLP represented the Alonsos. Case No. 02CC15162.
“The Alonsos will be able to stay in their home and repay their mortgage under better terms,” said Browne Greene, “but we are unable to reveal any further details because of Washington Mutual’s desire for confidentiality.”
Greene added: “At least our clients had their day in court, but at a huge personal expense. Washington Mutual made a $51.56 mistake that almost cost them their home. Regardless of their size, institutions should remember that they serve individuals. We hope that by calling this case to the public’s attention that banks everywhere will take the time to review their policies, especially when mistakes are made that can cost people the safety net of their own homes.”
“We are glad that it’s nearly over,” said Clara Alonso. “But, had Washington Mutual done the right thing in the first place, we wouldn’t be here today or have had to suffer through this horrendous ordeal. We are grateful to the Court for its wisdom in directing a swift and fair resolution so that we could keep our home.”
Clara and Francisco Alonso filed a complaint on September 30, 2002, to set aside the foreclosure sale and cancel the trustee’s deed upon sale filed against them by Washington Mutual Home Loans, Inc. In 1993, they purchased their Yorba Linda home for $77,500 by paying a $62,000 down payment and securing a loan for the rest from Washington Mutual. In late 2002, they experienced unforeseen difficulties and fell behind in their loan payments.
In July 2002, the Alonsos received a default notice from Washington Mutual, but entered into a repayment agreement with the bank and were to begin making monthly payments in the amount of $3,994.89, beginning in August 2002. On August 30, 2002, Mrs. Alonso went in person to Washington Mutual to make the first payment, but did not have a copy of the repayment agreement with her. She asked a teller to look up her home loan account and was told that the amount due was $3,943.33. Relying on that information, she wrote a check for that amount.
On September 10th, the Alonsos received a letter from Washington Mutual, returning their check and informing them that, as partial payments were not acceptable, the loan was immediately in foreclosure. Their efforts to pay the remaining $51.56 fell through as they were never able to connect with the bank’s designated officer, even though repeated attempts were made. Washington Mutual informed Plaintiffs that if they did not enter into a modification of their repayment plan, they would foreclose on the house on September 24, 2002. To their complete shock, the Alonsos learned that their home sold at foreclosure on September 20, 2002.
Francisco Alonso, age 39, has worked full-time for the past 12 years as a carpenter with the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department. Clara Alonso, age 35, has worked full-time for the past 4 1/2 years as a vice president in the human resources department of Gourmet Award Foods in the City of Commerce.
Plaintiffs’ Counsel: Browne Greene is with the Santa Monica, CA firm of Greene, Broillet, Panish & Wheeler, LLP (http://www.gbpwlaw.com); tel: 310/576-1200. Gregory B. Gershuni is with the Los Angeles, CA firm of Gershuni & Imrich, LLP; tel: 310/474-6300.
Greene, Broillet, Panish & Wheeler, LLP
Kathy Pinckert, 310/562-0691