Woman claims bank's refusal to modify loan contributed to husband's suicide

Kelly Holleran May 10, 2013, 1:49pm

A Jefferson County woman claims a bank’s refusal to timely negotiate a mortgage modification agreement led to her husband’s suicide and caused her to face foreclosure on the property. 

Janna McKinney filed a lawsuit May 1 in Jefferson County District Court against Bank of America and Eastex Foundation Services.

In her complaint, Janna McKinney alleges she and her husband, Nathan McKinney purchased a home on Verde Street in Groves on Feb. 29, 2008, and secured a mortgage through Bank of America. Soon thereafter, the McKinneys struggled to make their mortgage payments due to several months of unemployment, according to the complaint.

Attempting to resolve their financial woes, the McKinneys applied for a mortgage loan modification, but Bank of America repeatedly denied their requests, the suit states.

By June 2009, the McKinneys learned that the bank was scheduling a foreclosure on their home, the complaint says. In August, Nathan McKinney killed himself, his spouse claims.

“Nathan McKinney committed suicide on the property during the loan modification negotiations, which weighed heavily on his mind and in some way contributed to his depression which resulted in his death,” the suit states.

Finally, in July 2010, Bank of America approved Janna McKinney for a loan modification, the complaint says.  However, instead of lowering Janna McKinney’s monthly payments, the loan modification increased them, she claims.

“Plaintiff was informed that he modified home mortgage monthly payment would be $995.02,” the suit states. “Plaintiff’s monthly mortgage payment prior to modification was $877.75. Bank of America’s modification ultimately increased plaintiff’s monthly mortgage payment by $117.27.”

Still, Janna McKinney continued to make her required monthly payments, according to the complaint. But she suffered another financial setback following a plumbing leak, the suit states.

Janna McKinney attempted to collect money from Allstate, which held her homeowner’s policy, to pay for the plumbing issue. In turn, it paid her $34,000, which Janna McKinney provided to Bank of America, the complaint says.

By January 2011, defendant EasTex Foundation Services began making plumbing repairs to Janna McKinney’s house. In turn, she claims she immediately provided three separate payments of $12,000 each to EasTex, according to the complaint.

In March 2011, EasTex informed Janna McKinney it would need additional money complete work on the home and immediately ceased all work on the house. However, it had gutted the home of all floors, toilets and sinks, rendering the property uninhabitable, the suit states.

“Plaintiff feels that EasTex has been grossly overpaid for the amount of work completed at the property and believes that Bank of America has improperly disbursed insurance proceeds to EasTex for work and repairs that have never been done and/or completed,” the complaint says.

Unless she is given the money her homeowner’s association gave to her following damages caused during Hurricane Ike and additional funds left over from her plumbing claim, Janna McKinney claims she is not able to hire a contractor to complete the repairs on her property.

Bank of America is again threatening foreclosure against Janna McKinney, who says she has been paying her monthly mortgage payments since January 2011, even though she has been unable to live in the property.

Janna McKinney says the bank violated the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices-Consumer Protection Act, the Texas Fair Debt Collection Act and the Texas Insurance Code. In addition, it is guilty of breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing, negligence and conversion, according to the complaint.

She blames EasTex for violating the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices-Consumer Protection Act. She also says the company breached its contract, breached its fiduciary duty, breached its duty of good faith and fair dealing and is guilty of negligence.

Now, Janna McKinney is asking the court to prevent Bank of America from foreclosing against her home. She also seeks actual, consequential and statutory damages, plus attorney’s fees, costs, pre- and post-judgment interest and other relief the court deems just.

Wyatt D. Snider of Snider Law Firm in Beaumont will be representing her.

The case has been assigned to Judge Milton Shuffield, 136th District Court.

Case No. D194-297

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