In the first jury trial to be held in Oregon in a case of wrongful foreclosure, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) did not fare well. The bank was scolded by the judge in the case and ordered to repay more than $10,000 to the plaintiffs. The plaintiffs also intend to ask the judge to let them remain in the house.
When the plaintiffs requested a modification on their home loan in late 2008, they were told that the loan had to be in default in order for a modification to be allowed. The bank enrolled them in a trial modification program, which Chase maintained the plaintiffs could not afford. The court-ordered repayment is equal to the amount they paid in the modification program.
Chase’s attorney plans to object to the jury’s decision at a later date, but declined further comment. The plaintiffs’ attorney claimed that the bank was initiating foreclosure proceedings at the same time it was setting up the trial modification.
The moral of this story could be that taking foreclosure story in front of a jury could be a very bad idea for a big bank like Chase. This is the U.S. after all, and we do favor our underdogs.