California high court opens door to wrongful foreclosure suits

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During the bust that followed last decade’s housing boom, hundreds of thousands of Californians lost their homes to foreclosure. It was a process later found to be rife with problems, such as overwhelmed bank employees who sometimes didn’t even read the foreclosure documents in front of them.

But challenging foreclosures on the basis of paperwork problems proved to be mostly futile, given California courts had ruled that borrowers who weren’t paying their mortgages didn’t suffer financial harm.

Now, a recent decision by the California Supreme Court will allow some of those former homeowners to pursue lawsuits and possibly win damages for wrongful foreclosure even if they were in default.

“They opened the courthouse doors,” said Katherine Porter, a law professor at UC Irvine and a former monitor for a national settlement over foreclosure abuses.



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