The payout to military members wrongfully threatened with foreclosure while stationed overseas -- plaintiffs in a class-action lawsuit that included a Beaufort Marine -- is likely to be even larger than the $56 million announced in April.
Last year, U.S. Marine Capt. Jonathon Rowles of Beaufort sued a subsidiary of JPMorgan Chase, alleging it violated the law during his recent deployment by requiring him to verify his active-duty status every 90 days for more than two years and aggressively seeking to collect more than he owed on a 2004 mortgage for a home in Colorado.
The suit also alleged that the bank's systematic failures deprived thousands of military men and women of their rights under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act.
Initially, $12 million was set to be awarded to about 6,000 service members, according to an April 21 settlement.
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However, that preliminary agreement was contingent upon the number of service members who sought a SCRA refund. If that number exceeded 8,000, the bank would have to increase its payout to affected service members by $1,500 per loan.
More than 13,000 service members applied to be included in the suit by the Sept. 11 deadline, and Chase will award about $20 million to them. The bank also will provide about $12 million to class members who were subject to wrongful foreclosures and another $8 million in attorney fees.
The bank will also provide an estimated $12 million and other remedies to class members who were the subject of wrongful foreclosures.
The settlement will be disclosed at a final approval hearing Nov. 15 in Columbia.
The plaintiffs were represented by the Harvey & Battey law firm in Beaufort.
Bill Harvey, part of Capt. Rowles' legal team, praised the terms of the settlement, calling it "a tremendous result for many deserving men and women."
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