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Quicken Loans, Inc. v. Brown

737 S.E.2d 640 (2012)

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Quicken Loans, Inc. v. Brown

Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia

737 S.E.2d 640 (2012)

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Facts

Lourie Brown (plaintiff) chose Quicken Loans, Inc. (Quicken) (defendant), a large national mortgage lender, to refinance her home. Despite the fair market value of Brown’s home being $46,000, Quicken approved an appraisal that inflated the value of Brown’s home to over $181,000. Quicken offered Brown a loan for $112,850, required her to purchase loan-discount points, and included a variable interest rate but not a balloon payment. Brown was hesitant to proceed with the transaction. After numerous telephone calls by Quicken urging her to accept the loan, Brown eventually relented and proceeded with the transaction. The closing of the loan occurred at Brown’s home in the presence of a notary public. No representative from Quicken was present at the closing to answer questions or explain the terms of the loan. The notary public instructed Brown to sign nearly 81 pages of loan documents upon which red “sign here” stickers had been placed. Brown did not review the documents in detail, but did notice that a balloon payment was mentioned. The resulting loan was for $144,800, included significantly different terms than those initially offered to Brown, and excluded important documents that would help Brown understand important aspects of the loan. Although Quicken assured Brown that she could refinance the loan after several months, Quicken refused to respond to Brown’s repeated written and verbal inquiries to refinance after she defaulted on the loan. Brown filed suit against Quicken, alleging claims of fraud, fraudulent concealment, misrepresentation, and unconscionability. The trial court awarded Brown nearly $2.2 million in compensatory and punitive damages and attorneys’ fees. Quicken appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (McHugh, J.)

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