Claims Against Loan Servicer And Force-Placed Insurer Alleging Commission And Reinsurance Kickback Scheme Survive Dismissal

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A putative class action involving force-placed home insurance and an alleged scheme for mortgage lenders to obtain kickbacks in the form of commissions, reinsurance premium, and other fees, has survived a motion to dismiss. The complaint alleged that the mortgage lender, loan servicer, and insurer participated in a scheme of entering into exclusive agreements to force place insurance at grossly excessive rates in return for the kickbacks. The loan servicer and insurer moved to dismiss two Florida law claims: unjust enrichment and tortious interference with a business relationship. Regarding the claim for unjust enrichment, the court held that the complaint sufficiently alleged that the named plaintiffs conferred a “direct benefit” on the servicer and insurer (force-placed premiums), that the servicer and insurer retained the benefit, and that the benefit would be inequitable for them to retain. With respect to tortious interference, the court held that the complaint sufficiently alleged that the servicer and insurer intentionally interfered with the lender’s and plaintiffs’ business relationship in bad faith, which resulted in damages to the plaintiffs. The court held that the complaint adequately alleged the causes of action. Hamilton v. SunTrust Mortgage, Inc., Case No. 13-60749-CIV (USDC S.D. Fla. March 28, 2014).

 

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