Last week, regulators from 49 states and the District of Columbia announced a $45 million settlement with PHH Mortgage Corporation. Left unsaid was how that settlement would become legally enforceable and whether it would fully exonerate PHH. The answers to those questions are: the settlement will become enforceable through the Dodd-Frank Act and, no, PHH could face further liability.
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Cyber fraud is quickly becoming real estate professionals’ worst nightmare, causing millions of dollars of damages each year. Part of your strategy for defending against cyber crimes should include proper insurance coverage. Because cyber insurance is a relatively new product and constantly evolving, you should take time to learn about the different types of policies that are available and which are particularly suited to the real estate industry.
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Companies that are sued in class actions often face two options, neither of which is pleasant: pay money to settle a baseless lawsuit or continue fighting until the court acknowledges the flaws in the case and dismisses it. First American Home Buyers Protection Company recently chose the fight option and won—but only after a years-long battle.
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The truth about many class actions is that, when actually tested, they often fail, whether due to lack of evidence or faulty legal theories. That means a plaintiff’s attorney will have doggedly pursued a losing case. Mortgage servicer Homeward Residential, Inc., recently defeated a class action by repeatedly putting the plaintiff’s claims to test.
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The real estate industry, being rooted in practices developed over generations, is slow to change. In today’s business climate, inflexibility can prove disastrous. But, last month, the South Carolina Supreme Court moved its real estate industry toward modernity by endorsing a national lender’s internet-refinancing process, which the court found satisfies the state’s existing requirements for attorney involvement.
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Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court answered an important constitutional question: Can Congress authorize a lawsuit in which the plaintiff suffered no financial injury? The court’s disappointing answer (“it depends”) has perplexed courts across the nation. That confusion has spread to an area of vital interest to the real estate industry, the timely recording of satisfactions of mortgages.
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