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21st Mortgage Addition of Excessive Attorneys’ Fees Class Action

This class action alleges that 21st Mortgage Corporation uses its power over homeowners to add excessive attorneys’ fees to mortgage accounts, in violation of West Virginia law. These fees are also excessive, the complaint claims, in light of the attorneys’ fees permitted by the mortgage contract.

The class for this action is all borrowers who were charged attorney fees by 21st Mortgage in excess of those permitted by their contracts.

The plaintiff in this case, Wendell Todd Antill, bought a manufactured home under a Retail Installment Contract—Security Agreement with 21st Mortgage in April 2005. The amount financed by the contract was $53,399.

The complaint quotes the contract as to permitted charges for attorneys’ fees: “In the event of default, I also agree to pay your expenses for (a) reasonable attorney fees, not to exceed 15% of my unpaid debt, after referral to an attorney who is not your salaried employee.”

Sometime around January 1, 2021, Antill asked for a payoff quote. The payoff quote he received from 21st Mortgage showed a principal balance owing of $15,562.32 and legal fees of $27,194.25. Some days later, he received an updated quote showing the same amounts.

The complaint alleges that the contract limited attorneys’ fees that could be collected to a significantly lower amount—that is, 15% of Antill’s unpaid debt. “Further,” the complaint contends, “upon information and belief, [21st Mortgage] charged [Antill] attorney’s fees in excess of a reasonable rate and in excess of what was actually charged to the file by attorneys.”

This leads to the complaint’s contention that the company has violated West Virginia law—specifically a provision in the West Virginia Code, presumably on debt collection, that forbids “[a]ny false representation or implication of the character, extent or amount of a claim against a consumer.”

The first count is for violations of the West Virginia Consumer Credit and Protection Act (WVCCPA). Among the alleged violations are

  • “collecting or attempting to collect attorney’s fees, which are neither expressly authorized by any agreement creating or modifying the obligation or by statute or regulation…”
  • “collecting or attempting to collect attorney’s fees at an excessive rate…”
  • “utilizing fraudulent, deceptive or misleading representations or means regarding [Antill’s] mortgage status in an attempt to collect a debt or obtain information regarding [Antill]…” and
  • “falsely representing or implying the character, extent, or amount of a claim against a consumer…”

Other counts include breach of contract and unjust enrichment.

Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Consumer

Most Recent Case Event

21st Mortgage Addition of Excessive Attorneys’ Fees Complaint

July 26, 2021

This class action alleges that 21st Mortgage Corporation uses its power over homeowners to add excessive attorneys’ fees to mortgage accounts, in violation of West Virginia law. These fees are also excessive, the complaint claims, in light of the attorneys’ fees permitted by the mortgage contract.

21st Mortgage Addition of Excessive Attorneys’ Fees Complaint

Case Event History

21st Mortgage Addition of Excessive Attorneys’ Fees Complaint

July 26, 2021

This class action alleges that 21st Mortgage Corporation uses its power over homeowners to add excessive attorneys’ fees to mortgage accounts, in violation of West Virginia law. These fees are also excessive, the complaint claims, in light of the attorneys’ fees permitted by the mortgage contract.

21st Mortgage Addition of Excessive Attorneys’ Fees Complaint
Tags: Breach of Contract, Mortgage-Related Unfair Practices, Unlawful Debt Collection