Montana Couple Has A Key Figure in Lawsuit To Take on Bank of America
Abraham and Betty Morrow have never met Sunil Kumar, of Hyderabad, India, but he is a key figure in their fraud lawsuit against Bank of America.
The lawsuit, alleging that the bank deliberately led them into foreclosure on their retirement home outside White Sulphur Springs, Montana had previously been dismissed by a district court judge. The Montana Supreme Court voted 4-2 on May 7 to overturn that decision, saying the Morrows’ lawsuit should proceed to trial.
John Heenan of Billings, one of the attorneys for the Morrows, said the case could have repercussions for hundreds of Montanans in similar circumstances, and potentially thousands of people all over the country.
“It’s a big deal, and that decision’s a big deal,” he said of the high court ruling.
Heenan said a key factor in the case is that Abraham Morrow is a retired accountant and small-business owner who kept meticulous notes of every conversation he had with Bank of America representatives.
One early conversation took place on Dec. 8, 2009. It was with a Bank of America representative who identified himself as “Brian.” Morrow said “Brian” told him that he and his wife were locked in for a loan modification program. If they successfully made reduced trial payments for three to four months, Morrow said he was told, their loan modification would be made permanent.
After the whole thing unraveled and the Morrows filed suit, one of the defenses made by Bank of America was that, according to its records, Morrow had not spoken with anyone by the name of Brian on the date in question. On Dec. 8, 2009, the bank said, Morrow spoke with a customer service representative in India by the name of Sunil Kumar.
Heenan later deposed Kumar by telephone. Heenan said Kumar told him, “We all use American names” when speaking with customers.
And what American name did Kumar use? “Brian,” he told Heenan.
If Morrow’s custom of taking good notes proved vital, Heenan said, it also illustrated how devious loan-servicing fraud can be.
“If people like that can be tricked, imagine everyone else,” he said.