Judge exercises extreme sarcasm on US Bank

Georgia Judge Dennis Blackmon has rejected a petition from U.S. Bank to throw out a complaint from a homeowner whose mortgage the bank refused to modify, without explanation. The judge didn't mince words on his opinion of the bank's motion:

The order lays the case out like this: Phillips is in danger of foreclosure. U.S. Bank is among the "poorly run organizations" that recently received massive bailouts from the federal government and agreed to participate in the Obama administration's Home Affordable Modification Program. When Phillips applied for a modification, the bank denied his request "without numbers, figures, or explanation, reasoning, comparison to guidelines, or anything..."

"This court cannot imagine why U.S. Bank will not make known to Mr. Phillips, a taxpayer, how his numbers put him outside the federal guidelines to receive a loan modification," Blackmon continued. "Taking $20 billion of taxpayer money was no problem for U.S. Bank. A cynical judge might believe that this entire motion to dismiss is a desperate attempt to avoid a discovery period, where U.S. Bank would have to tell Mr. Phillips how his financial situation did not qualify him for a modification."

If Phillips didn't qualify, Blackmon wrote -- with apologies to folksinger Arlo Guthrie -- why didn't the bank say so with "mathematic equations, pie charts, and bar graphs, all on 8 by 10 glossy photo paper, with circles and arrows and paragraphs on the back explaining each winning number"?

"Maybe U.S. Bank no longer has any of the $20 billion left, and so their lack of written explanation might be attributed to some kind of ink reduction program to save money," Blackmon continued. "Clearly, U.S. Bank cannot take the money, contract with our government to provide a service to the taxpayer, violate that agreement, and then say no one on earth can sue them for it. That is not the law in Georgia."

Dennis Blackmon: Georgia Judge Mocks U.S. Bank Over Denied Mortgage Modification (via Lowering the Bar)


  1. Far be it for me to question the ongoing demonization of banks, but what exactly does the bailout have to do with this guy’s mortgage not being modified? Seems like the judge is going off on an irrelevant tangent to win votes from the OWS clods.

    1. Banks who participated in the Financial Stability Plan and accepted bailouts are required to participate in the Home Affordable Refinance Program. 

    2. Far be it from me to question your reading skills, but go back and read the article.

      “U.S. Bank is among the “poorly run organizations” that recently received massive bailouts from the federal government and agreed to participate in the Obama administration’s Home Affordable Modification Program.”

      Otherwise you’re going to sound like a clod.

    3. Have you ever heard the parable where the master forgives his slave a huge debt because he pleads with him and then turns around goes out and demands money from a guy who owes him a pittance?   The master throws the ungrateful jerk into debtors prison because he was so hateful to the other guy when he had kindness shown to him. 

      1. I have no master and never will I allow any other human to call me slave. Please update your mindset.

    4. Because US Bank agreed to participate in Obama’s program to modify loans, but then wasn’t modifying loans. I’m sure the bankers were laughing their asses off (like the Enron guys did to those in California who could not afford the uber high prices in electricity thanks to Enron’s greed!)  when they saw that their INACTION was causing Americans stress from losing their homes etc.

    5. Seems like you’re mentally challenged. You should stay off the computer. Trying to participate in conversations like this one, with such incredibly ridiculous comments, simply exposes your total lack of knowledge on the subject. Perhaps you can find a place where people are discussing who is at fault for the Lopez-Anthony breakup.

    6. With all due respect, please read more carefully. You completely missed the point. The bailout was specifically given ON THE CONDITION that the bank follow certain guidelines. Turning down Mr. Phillips’ mortgage modification request with no explanation violates those guidelines. The bank thought they could get away with it because there’s no system in place to ensure that they follow those guidelines; but they didn’t count on one of the Little Guys having the guts to sue a giant corporation like them.

      The point is that if they did not follow due process and follow the federal government’s rules when they turned Mr. Phillips down, then they are in violation of the terms of the bailout, and they should have to return that $20 billion.

    7. It has nothing to do with the modification itself, read for content. It has to do with the lack of explanation.

      The judge is correct in stating the Bank must provide an explanation for their refusal to modify the loan under the guidelines. The Bank accepted the money for the program. The program has very specific guidelines that must be followed and further that are intended to benefit the taxpayer (that would be you and I). When the taxpayer (that would be you and I, or in this case Phillips) applied for a Loan Modification under the program he expected to receive (1) Modification; or (2) Reason for Denied Modification in clear and plain English. 

      He received neither and this was the reason for the lawsuit he brought against US Bank. Not that he was denied the modification but that he received no reason for the denial. 

      US Bank attempted to have the lawsuit thrown out before it was heard. They don’t believe Mr. Phillips has standing to sue them.

      The judge rightfully disabused them of their mistaken belief. Mr. Phillips has standing to demand an explanation of their cavalier handling of tax-payer (that would be you and I) money received by the bank for the Loan Modification program to be conducted under very specific guidelines, including providing cause for denial in writing.

      Now do you get it? 

      1. I believe we all established that “Chainsaw Buffet Chef” didn’t read the article fully and jumped the gun with his conclusion.

        Which is an honest mistake and can happen to anyone. His trail of thoughts makes sense if that important piece of information was indeed missing.

        As soon as we realize we shouldn’t bash and embarrass one another for honest mistakes the sooner we’ll fix our society.

        I appreciate the time you’ve spent to explain this, but in my view few other people did so as well, perhaps you saw their comments as insufficient in which case I apologize for this entire comment.

        I just wanted to point out that group bashing for an honest mistake isn’t very productive. 

        1. Are you his protector or do you simply believe you need to correct me in particular? Really, why is that in particular? 

          Perhaps, consider this instead. I respond to comments as I read them and don’t read entire threads to determine if anyone else has responded or not. In which case you have simply insulted me to no good cause.

          By the way, his comment was neither an honest mistake or a failure on his part in reading comprehension. Were this case he would have come back to correct his ‘mistake’.

          1. My apologies, I have insulted you, that was far from what I was trying to achieve, I can see that now clearly from your point of view.

            My assumption was that he just skimmed through the article and posted his quickly established opinion and was too embarrassed to return and correct himself. Which is what I would love to see him doing.
            I merely replied to your comment because it was the last one replying to him. Wasn’t anything particular about your comment or statements.

            My apologies again.

        2. “I just wanted to point out that group bashing for an honest mistake isn’t very productive. ”

          You mean like his referring to the OWS protestors as “clods”? Or perhaps the thinly-veiled insult via sarcasm toward those who “demonize banks”?

          I mean, an honest mistake would be getting the judge’s name wrong in a response, or misstating the state in which the story took place. He didn’t overlook something minor, he overlooked, well, the entire point of the story. If you can’t be bothered to read something in its entirety to ensure you’re making an informed comment, DON’T COMMENT.

    8. Far be it for me to question whether or not you read the article. They refused to tell the person why they were not going to modify the mortgage. Having taken $20,000,000,000 in bale-out money from the U.S. Treasury, the bank had an obligation to explain their decision.

    9. No one knows why the loan isn’t being modified, Chef. That’s why there’s a lawsuit. Philips wants to take advantage of a federal program that could help him modify his loan. US Bank told him no, but didn’t tell him why. Calling out their acceptance of bailout funds is important because it calls out the bank on their bad ethics: how can a bank take taxpayer money and then deny the taxpayer a service without telling him why he or she can’t take part in the service.  

    10. It’s pretty simple. The bailout was not “no strings attached”. The banks that were bailed out agreed to participate in the Home Mortgage Adjustment Program, which would require the financing bank to accept certain mortgage modifications that fell within guidelines laid out in the program. If you read the article, it actually spells that out pretty clearly.
      The fact that U.S. Bank refuses to provide any reasoning to the complainant as to why they denied his request for modification under the program is highly questionable. If U.S. Bank has valid documentation showing that the homeowner’s request did not fall within the guidelines outlined by the program, then why not provide it in the first place?

      Far be it from me to spell out something that is pretty clearly detailed in the article; maybe you were too busy demonizing the OWS protesters to bother reading the article.

  2. They should take the money back from the bank because they are in default of the contract.  Plain and simple.

    1. I’m sure you really meant to say, “They should give even more money to the bank, because they’re in default of the contract.” Since that’s what the gov’t has been doing lately.

      1. Oh, my bad.  I thought we lived in the home of the free and the brave.  I forgot it is now the land of corporate greed that the people must support.

  3. The bank will settle for less than one of their executives spend on a child’s birthday party. US Bank will admit to nothing in the settlement and all parties will be bound to silence. The bank’s only change in behavior will be to increase its lobbying budget for laws to protect it from these suits.

  4. Don’t think for a minute that Occupy Wall Street isn’t having an impact by constantly bringing up what’s wrong in this country. These ideas slowly seep into the everyday conscientiousness of society and are making their ways into the courts.

  5. Amazing.  First of all, it’s great that this guy took them to court instead of letting them trample his rights.  And secondly, it’s good to see a judge who doesn’t automatically rule in favor of a big corporation.

  6. The problem is not with the mortgage, the problem was with the bailout. It was a huge housing bubble driven by Asian money (at least in California) and propped up by the Fed. Enough economists called bullshite on it that Alan Greenspan made a special public appearance to declare that their was no housing bubble.

  7. I used to work in the total loss department for a large insurance company, and in making payments on financed cars, I dealt with most major auto finance companies in the US.  There were few companies I loathed dealing with more than US Bank.  They  required bizarre paperwork before faxing us really standard paperwork, and wouldn’t do anything with one fax that could possibly be taken care of in four, and nobody in that company seemed to know what their job was.  Nothing this company does can surprise me. 

  8. Is anyone else wondering what the “winning number” refers to? 

    Guthrie’s lyrics say “a paragraph on the back of each one explaining what each one was to be used as evidence against us.”

  9. The Judge should have ordered them to show they actually hold the mortgage.
    As is pretty standard right now the paperwork is all lost somewhere waiting to be robosigned by dead people and paperwork made up out of thin air from companies that failed.

    The make homeowners jump through so many hoops, but they can not produce the legal documents required to show they own the mortgage in the first place.  Maybe it is time to push all the payments into escrow accounts until the banks can prove they own them… then we could get the taxes paid (that they are dodging in so many communities), then we could show they seized property they had no rights to, that they are still lying on documents filed with courts.

    If we lied to a judge we’d be in jail… banks lied hundreds of times…

  10. Good to see that a judge reminds bank management that they took an astronomical quantity of taxpayer’s money after epic-failure at managing other people’s money. That they signed for conditions that were too easy on them for what was basically a buyout of their depressed shares…

    Instead of being disgraced and fired (a natural consequence of hostile takeover). Or alternatively, facing not only disgrace, but also civil and fraud lawsuits, and seriously pondering participation in “free-style flying” or “rope-end dancing” events. Only natural, when you gamble away money that’s not yours and fail through greed and dishonesty. Win big, be responsible and live a life of luxury; be irresponsible, lose big and face failure.

  11. Such wonderful news, so well articulated- I had to read it aloud to the other occupants of the room.

    My dog was suitably impressed.  

  12. We need these kind of people in the whitehouse too. “Ohhh you want another bailout? The 20 billion we just gave you disappeared into corporate bonuses? Yeah yeah you deserve another bailout”

    The judge used common sense and followed the law which is every judge’s job. I explain his sarcasm simply because he was outraged by the US bank’s arrogance, like any other common sense person would be.

    Gives me great pleasure that there are still people with the right mindset on positions such as this, gives me hope for better tomorrow and a reason to get up at night, rather than thinking it’s all screwed beyond repair.

  13. Very simple. Quit putting your money into banks and put them into credit unions.  Banks will listen up quickly.

  14. hey mods, did you want to pin something up in the comments above Chainsaw Buffet Chef’s post to indicate that he has been soundly rebutted before every visitor immediately posts their own individual flavor of heated counter-argument without reading the twenty-odd existing ones in the thread?

    seriously, guys, RTFT before posting.  when someone else says what you came to say, don’t repeat it in your own words, hit the like button.  sheesh.  don’t feed the trolls.  that means they win.

    edit: hell, if I’d thought y’all’d actually DO it, I woulda brought it up earlier. next day after i wrote that and now all replies appear under the replied-to post. Now THAT’S what I call service!

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