EAppraiseIT – Spears, et al. v. Washington Mutual, Inc. and EAppraiseIT

Feinstein Doyle Payne & Kravec, LLC represented a nationwide class of consumers who paid for appraisals provided by First American eAppraiseIT (n/k/a CoreLogic, Inc.) in relation to Washington Mutual home loans.

Joe Kravec was appointed Co-Lead Counsel for a nationwide certified class of consumers who, after June 1, 2006, received appraisals obtained through eAppraiseIT in connection with home loans from Washington Mutual Bank, FA (“WMB”) for violation of  the anti-kickback provision of the Real Estate Settlement Practices Act (“RESPA”), 12 U.S.C. § 2607(a).

In its April 25, 2012 Order certifying the nationwide Class, the Court recognized that it previously sustained the action based on the plaintiffs’ theory that, “pursuant to an agreement, [eAppraiseIT] gave and WMB accepted inflated appraisals in exchange for WMB referring appraisal business to [eAppraiseIT]” in violation of RESPA § 8(a).

In certifying the nationwide Class, the Court found that “plaintiffs have alleged a single, overriding agreement and shown that some amount of common evidence exists from which a conspiracy could be inferred… .  In addition, the mere fact that the relationship between [eAppraiseIT] and WMB was contentious does not demonstrate that they did not conspire to inflate appraisal values, and even if EA implemented policies designed to inflate appraisal values only in response to pressure from WMB, that may still constitute an agreement or understanding in violation of RESPA.”

According to the April 13, 2011 United States Senate Majority and Minority Staff Report, “Wall Street and the Financial Crisis: Anatomy of a Financial Collapse,” eAppraiseIT’s agreement to provide falsely inflated appraisals to WMB in exchange for WMB’s appraisal business was one of the schemes underlying the sub-prime mortgage crisis.

Notice of the Court’s certification of the action was sent to Class members on August 13, 2012.  This class action was hotly litigated for seven years as a certified class, and settled just before trial, recovering nearly $10 million.