Mortgage company found to have violated solicitation/collection law

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Hank Johnson, Jr., appeals the judgment in favor of American Classic Mortgage Corporation (“American Classic”) on his counterclaim seeking damages arising from American Classic’s alleged violation of Indiana Code Section 23-2-5-20. Johnson raises two issues, which we consolidate and rephrase as follows: Whether the trial court’s judgment in favor of American Classic and against Johnson on his counterclaim is clearly erroneous.

Conclusion (slip op. at 6):  We reverse the judgment of the trial court and remand to determine the amount of actual damages, interest, and attorney’s fees to which Johnson is entitled as a result of American Classic’s violation of IC 23-2-5-20.

Key Analysis (slip op. at 5):  We agree with Johnson that the trial court erred in concluding that he was required to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that American Classic intentionally violated IC 23-2-5-20.  IC 23-2-5-15 contains no scienter requirement. It is undisputed that American Classic filed a lawsuit against Johnson claiming that he owed it a 5% commission for obtaining a loan for him, that the loan was never closed, and that it took a default judgment against Johnson for $35,000. These facts establish that American Classic violated Indiana Code Section 23-2-5-20.

About Bose McKinney & Evans LLP

Bose McKinney & Evans LLP is a business law firm, headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana, serving both publicly held and privately held businesses, governmental entities and high-growth industries. Our clients include Fortune 100 companies, international manufacturers, national and regional financial institutions, agribusinesses, sports teams, university-incubated start-ups, media, utilities, cities and schools, to name a few. We strive to build strong relationships with our clients as key business advisors, to exceed expectations in the quality of our work, to be knowledgeable about our clients’ businesses and sectors, to be responsive to service needs and to continually seek to improve the delivery of client services. Our ultimate focus is on our clients.
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