Add this case to the laundry list of Home Affordable Modification Program ("HAMP") complaints that the United States District Court for the District of Maryland has thrown in the HAMPer. Rhodomoyer v. Wells Fargo Bank, RDB 12-3806 is useful because it sites the numerous cases which have, in the Court's words, "uniformly held that relief cannot be granted to private plaintiffs alleging HAMP violations." We have reported on some of these cases previously as these decisions have been rendered, and they include Goss v. Bank of America, CCB-12-2680 (Jan. 8, 2013); Farasat v. Wells Fargo Bank, N. A., WDQ-12-1276 (Dec. 19, 2012); Legore v. OneWest Bank, FSB, L-11-0589 (Oct. 15, 2012); Spaulding v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.; GLR-11-2733 (July 23, 2012); Stovall v. Suntrust Mortg., Inc., RDB-10-2836 (Sept. 20, 2011); Allen v. CitiMortgage, Inc., CCB-10-2740 (Aug. 4, 2011).
What makes this case different? This decision makes clear that while HAMP does not create a private right of action, it does not preclude such claims either and that "state law claims involving agreements made as part of HAMP" can theoretically be brought. The problem, of course, is that such state law claims are founded in diversity, not federal question, jurisdiction and plaintiffs seem to be challenged in either pleading a prima facie state law claim or (as in this case) pleading damages that exceed the $75,000 federal diversity jurisdiction requirement.
Mr. Rhodomoyer (who is pro se) was a little creative and alleged medical costs resulting from a "stress induced illness" that he purportedly obtained while dealing with the bank in its modification program. Less creative (but perhaps more plausible) he alleged damages resulting from closing costs and home improvements he purportedly made in reliance on HAMP. Not enough, sir. The HAMPer is getting fuller by the day.Copyright © 2013 Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, PLLC. All Rights Reserved.