WBEZ | Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals http://www.wbez.org/tags/seventh-circuit-court-appeals Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Appeals court allows fraud lawsuit against Wells Fargo http://www.wbez.org/story/appeals-court-allows-fraud-lawsuit-against-wells-fargo-97136 <p><p>An appeals court has ruled in favor of a Chicago homeowner who’s been trying to sue Wells Fargo for turning her down for a permanent loan modification. Attorneys across the country say it’s a big deal for homeowners because it's the first time a higher federal court has ruled on a case like this, and that now sets a precedent as judges in lower courts consider similar cases.</p><p>The decision by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals says Chicago homeowner Lori Wigod does have the right to sue Wells Fargo for fraud and breach of contract.</p><p>The bank had given Wigod a temporary loan modification under HAMP – the Home Affordable Modification Program. Wigod’s lawyer Steven Woodrow says the bank promised to make the modification permanent, but then didn’t, even though he says she made her payments on time and did everything else she was supposed to.</p><p>According to the judge's decision, Wells Fargo said it was denying her the modification because it couldn't reduce her payment to an amount affordable to her that would still meet the investor guidelines on the loan. Wells Fargo spokeswoman Vickee Adams declined to comment.</p><p>Woodrow says the judge's ruling could provide relief for lots of homeowners battling unsuccessfully to get loan modifications.</p><p>"If you speak with any homeowner who's been placed into any of these trial plans, it becomes a two-year nightmare of lost paperwork, inconsistent instructions from various bank representatives and ultimately, false reasons for denying the modification followed by an unlawful threat of or actual foreclosure," Woodrow said. "It’s been an absolute mess and now these people get their day in court."</p><p>Woodrow said now he'll take the case back to district court and hopefully get a permanent modification for his client, who got a mortgage for $728,500 from Wells Fargo in September 2007 to buy a home in the Bucktown/Wicker Park area of Chicago. After "finding herself in financial distress," according to the decision, she asked the bank for a HAMP modification in April 2009.</p><p>Michael van Zalingen is an attorney in Chicago who says banks could face a big financial hit as more homeowners decide to sue. He said ultimately, banks could be on the hook for even more than the $25 billion recent mortgage settlement with state attorneys general.</p><p>"If you start thinking about potential punitive damages, the plaintiffs’ attorneys’ fees, it could really rack up," van Zalingen said.</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 09 Mar 2012 21:34:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/appeals-court-allows-fraud-lawsuit-against-wells-fargo-97136 Jury clears cops in schizophrenic man’s death http://www.wbez.org/story/jury-clears-cops-schizophrenic-man%E2%80%99s-death-93555 <p><p>A federal jury Thursday afternoon cleared two Chicago police officers in the fatal shooting of a schizophrenic man in his Northwest Side bedroom.<br> <br> Raúl Barriera, 21, died the day after Sgt. Don Jerome struck him in the chest with a Taser electrode and Patrol Officer Andrew Hurman hit him twice with gunfire.<br> <br> Barriera lived with his mother, Lynette Wilson, at 1630 N. Tripp Ave. Wilson brought a lawsuit alleging that the officers used excessive force and that the death was wrongful.<br> <br> The shooting took place February 28, 2007, after Wilson called 911 for help with Barriera, who was refusing to leave his bedroom. In that call, Wilson said her son was a schizophrenic on medication. Paramedics and police officers arrived but Barriera remained in his room.<br> <br> The officers said they used their weapons after Barriera lunged at them with a knife. Wilson’s attorneys disputed that claim.<br> <br> The trial lasted eight days and ended Wednesday. The jury, an eight-member panel, deliberated for about three hours before clearing the city and the officers of liability.<br> <br> Arlene Martin, a city attorney in the case, praised the jurors. “The right thing happened,” she said.<br> <br> Before the trial, U.S. Judge William J. Hibbler threw out a claim by Wilson that the officers lacked sufficient training. WBEZ revealed in 2007 that neither Jerome nor Hurman had attended a 40-hour police department course designed to help officers respond to mental-health crises without using force.<br> <br> Since 2004, the department has put about 1,400 of its officers through the training. A 2008 study by Amy Watson, an associate professor of social work at the University of Illinois at Chicago, found that the training had results.<br> <br> “The trained officers were less likely to . . . pile on top of the person to control them, use a Taser or use some other type of force,” Watson says. “We also found that [the trained] officers directed more people to mental health services.”<br> <br> After the jury returned with its findings, one of Wilson’s attorneys told WBEZ there could be grounds for the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals to order a retrial. The attorney, Standish Willis, called it “very likely” that Wilson would bring that appeal.</p></p> Thu, 27 Oct 2011 23:50:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/jury-clears-cops-schizophrenic-man%E2%80%99s-death-93555