February 21, 2012

Ninth Court justices wipe $300K sanction levied against Bank of America

Justices seated on the Ninth Court of Appeals have wiped a lower court’s decision to sanction Bank of America for $300,000 for violating a mortgage settlement agreement with a Beaumont woman.

As the Southeast Texas Record previously reported, Trudie Crutchfield filed a lawsuit May 7 in Jefferson County District Court against Bank of America Corp., formerly known as Countrywide Home Loans.

Crutchfield alleges the bank entered into a settlement agreement with her, promising to write off the remaining balance owed on her mortgage.

That settlement came after Bank of America breached an earlier settlement agreement with Crutchfield, according to the complaint.

Court records show that on June 21 Crutchfield filed a motion for sanctions, asserting that the bank was purposefully harassing her by violating the agreements, causing her to suffer many sleepless nights.

On June 27 Judge Bob Wortham, 58th District Court, made a verbal ruling on the motion, sanctioning the bank for $300,000.

Court records show on Aug. 13 Bank of America filed a petition for writ of mandamus.

Two months later, Ninth Court justices conditionally granted the writ on Oct. 11.

“We conclude the trial court abused its discretion, and relators have no adequate remedy by appeal,” states the Ninth Court’s opinion.

“The petition for writ of mandamus is therefore conditionally granted. We are confident that the trial court will promptly vacate its order. The writ of mandamus shall issue only if the trial court fails to comply.”

Crutchfield is represented by attorney Wyatt D. Snider.

Attorney Dwayne Danner of the Dallas law firm McGlinchey Stafford represents the bank.

Case No. E192-419