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Mass Joinder Case – 0, Bank of America -1. California Appeal Rules for Bank

The California Court of Appeals recently heard an appeal in the mass joinder Ronald v. Bank of America case.

In an opinion published on August 24, 2011, the court in favor of the banks.

The appellate opinion says:

Defendants and petitioners Bank of America Corporation, Countrywide Financial Corporation, Countrywide Home Loans, Inc., Recontrust Company, N.A., and CTC Real Estate Services (collectively, Countrywide or defendants)1 seek a writ of mandate directing respondent superior court to vacate its order overruling Countrywide’s demurrer to the first cause of the operative third amended complaint (TAC), and to enter a new and different order sustaining the demurrer to said cause of action without leave to amend.

Plaintiffs and real parties in interest Paul Ronald, Lisa Ronald and 246 others (collectively, plaintiffs), allege they are borrowers who obtained Countrywide-originated residential mortgage loans. In this litigation, which is currently pending in the trial court, plaintiffs are prosecuting a variety of claims against Countrywide. This writ petition relates solely to plaintiffs’ cause of action for fraudulent concealment, which is the first cause of action of the TAC. The trial court overruled Countrywide’s demurrer to said cause of action and certified its ruling for writ review pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 166.1 (section 166.1). Countrywide filed the instant petition for writ of mandate and we issued an order to show cause.

We grant Countrywide’s petition. We conclude the plaintiffs/borrowers cannot state a cause of action against Countrywide for fraudulent concealment of an alleged scheme to bilk investors by selling them pooled mortgages at inflated values, the demise of which scheme led to devastated home values across California. Due to the generalized decline in home values which affects all homeowners (borrowers of Countrywide, borrowers who dealt with other lenders, and homeowners who owned their homes free and clear), there is no nexus between Countrywide’s alleged fraudulent concealment of its scheme to bilk investors and the diminution in value of the instant borrowers’ properties. – Source

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Steve Rhode

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