Hernandez, et al. v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.
Home Loan Modification Settlement
Case No. 3:18-cv-07354-WHA

Frequently Asked Questions

 

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  • You have been identified as a borrower who was erroneously denied a trial loan modification or payment plan by Wells Fargo and later lost your home in a foreclosure sale.

    The Court sent you a notice because you have a right to know about a proposed settlement of a class action lawsuit, and about your options, before the Court decides whether to approve the settlement. If the Court approves it and after objections and appeals are resolved, an administrator appointed by the Court will make the payments that the settlement allows. You will be informed of the progress of the settlement on this website.

    The package explains the lawsuit, the settlement, your legal rights, what benefits are available, who is eligible for them, and how to get them.

    The Court in charge of the case is the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, and the case is known as Hernandez et al. v. Wells Fargo Bank, Case No. 3:18-cv-07354-WHA. The people who sued are called Plaintiffs, and the company they sued, Wells Fargo, is called the Defendant.

  • The lawsuit alleges that between 2010 and 2018, Wells Fargo miscalculated attorneys’ fees that were included for purposes of determining whether a borrower qualified for a mortgage loan modification under the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP). Specifically, fees that should have been compared for purposes of the relevant calculation were instead added – which resulted in the erroneous denial of trial loan modification and repayment plans. Over 500 borrowers impacted by this calculation error later lost their homes to foreclosure.

    Wells Fargo publicly acknowledged the calculation error and sent letters and checks to affected borrowers. Plaintiffs filed this lawsuit to seek what they claim is full compensation for themselves and similarly situated borrowers.

    Wells Fargo denies Plaintiffs’ allegations. Wells Fargo denies that it breached a contract or that the erroneous calculations of trial payment plans caused foreclosures or any related damages.

  • In a class action, one or more people called Class Representatives (in this case, Debora Granja and Sandra Campos) sue on behalf of people who have similar claims. All these people are a Class or Class Members. One court resolves the issues for all Class Members, except for those who excluded themselves from the Class. U.S. District Judge William Alsup is in charge of this class action.

  • The Court did not decide in favor of Plaintiffs or Wells Fargo. Instead, both sides have agreed to the Settlement. That way, people who lost their homes can receive certain and substantial payments and both sides avoid the multi-year delay, risk, and cost of a trial and appeal. The Class Representatives and the attorneys strongly believe the settlement is best for all Class Members given the risks of the case.

  • To see if you will get money from this settlement, you first have to determine whether you are a Class Member. You are a Class Member if the calculation error caused you to be denied a trial loan modification (even though you qualified for one) and you later lost your home in a foreclosure sale. You likely received a letter from Wells Fargo in 2018 or 2019 regarding the error.

    The Court’s description of the Class is as follows:

    All persons in the United States who between 2010 and 2018 (i) qualified for a home loan modification or repayment plan pursuant to the requirements of government-sponsored enterprises (such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac), the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP); (ii) were not offered a home loan modification or repayment plan by Wells Fargo due to excessive attorney’s fees being included in the loan modification decisioning process; and (iii) whose home Wells Fargo sold in foreclosure.

  • If you received a letter from Wells Fargo stating that you were erroneously denied a loan modification because of the calculation error, that alone does not make you a Class Member. You are a Class Member only if you received such a letter and also lost your home in a foreclosure sale. You are also not a member of the class if (a) Wells Fargo sent you a letter but later determined that you in fact did not qualify for a trial loan modification or (b) you signed a settlement with Wells Fargo releasing the claims at issue in this case.

  • If you are still not sure whether you are included, you can ask for free help. You can call 1-877-545-0236 or review this website for more information.

  • Wells Fargo has agreed to pay $18.5 million. After attorney’s fees, costs, and settlement administration expenses are deducted, an estimated $13,575,000 will be distributed to Class Members. $1 million from this amount will be used to compensate Class Members who can show that they suffered severe emotional distress as a result of the calculation error. The rest will be distributed as described in Question 9 and Question 10.

  • If you are a Class Member and do nothing, you will receive a check for the amount listed in the notice you received. Your share of the settlement fund is based on the following factors: (1) the amount of your unpaid balance at the time of the error; (2) whether you were delinquent on your loan for six months or more at the time of the error; and (3) how much Wells Fargo previously sent you.

    For a detailed explanation of all the steps taken to calculate your settlement share, please review the Allocation Plan document. You were also able to apply for additional payments if you suffered severe emotional distress. See Question 10.

  • You do not need to do anything to receive your share of the settlement. Your money will be mailed to you automatically if the Court approves the settlement, unless you excluded yourself from the settlement. If your address changes, please let the Settlement Administrator know your new address.

    If you believe you suffered severe emotional distress, you were able to apply for an additional payment from the $1 million fund set aside for this purpose. The deadline to submit a claim was July 2, 2020 and has passed. An attorney experienced in handling emotional distress claims has been appointed by the court as a special master to process these claims and determine which Class Members will get additional settlement payments and the amount of those payments.

     
  • The Court will hold a hearing on August 20, 2020, to decide whether to approve the settlement. If the Court approves the settlement, there may still be appeals. It’s always uncertain whether these appeals can be resolved, and resolving them can take time, perhaps more than a year. You can check on the progress of the settlement on this website. Please be patient.

     
  • Unless you excluded yourself, you are staying in the Class, and that means that you can’t sue, continue to sue, or be part of any other lawsuit against Wells Fargo about the legal issues in this case. It also means that all of the Court’s orders will apply to you and legally bind you. If you did not exclude yourself, you will agree to the “Release” in Section IX of the Settlement Agreement, available on the Important Documents page, which describes exactly the legal claims that you give up if you get settlement benefits.

  • If you don’t want a payment from this settlement, but you want to keep the right to sue or continue to sue Wells Fargo on your own about the legal issues in this case, you must take steps to get out. This is called excluding yourself - sometimes referred to as “opting out” of the settlement Class.

  • The deadline to exclude yourself from the settlement was July 2, 2020 and has passed.

  • No. Unless you excluded yourself, you give up any right to sue Wells Fargo for the claims that this settlement resolves. If you have a pending lawsuit, speak to your lawyer in that case immediately. You must have excluded yourself from this Class to continue your own lawsuit.

  • No. If you exclude yourself, you will not receive any money from this settlement. But, you may sue, continue to sue, or be part of a different lawsuit against Wells Fargo.

  • Class Counsel in this case are Gibbs Law Group LLP (www.classlawgroup.com), in Oakland, CA, and Paul LLP (www.paulllp.com), in Kansas City, MO. You will not be charged for these lawyers. If you want to be represented by your own lawyer, you may hire one at your own expense.

  • Class Counsel will ask the Court to approve payment of up to 25% of the net settlement, or roughly $4,525,000 for attorney’s fees and reimbursement of up to $335,000 in litigation expenses they incurred throughout this case. The attorney’s fees would pay Class Counsel for investigating the facts, litigating the case, and negotiating the settlement. The Court may award less than these amounts. There will also be costs of $65,000 to administer the settlement. These amounts have already been accounted for in projecting the approximately $13,575,000 million available for Class Members and in providing the approximate amount of your settlement check.

  • The deadline to file an objection was July 2, 2020 and has passed.

  • Objecting is simply telling the Court that you don’t like something about the settlement. You can object only if you stay in the Class. Excluding yourself is telling the Court that you don’t want to be part of the Class. If you exclude yourself, you have no basis to object because the case no longer affects you.

  • The Court will hold a Fairness Hearing at 8:00 a.m. on Thursday, August 20, 2020, at the Phillip Burton Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse, 450 Golden Gate Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94102, in Courtroom 12 on the 19th Floor. At this hearing, the Court will consider whether the settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate. If there are objections, the Court will consider them. The Court will listen to people who have asked to speak at the hearing. You may attend and you may ask to speak, but you don’t have to. The Court may also decide how much to pay to Class Counsel. After the hearing, the Court will decide whether to approve the settlement. We do not know how long these decisions will take.

    The Court may reschedule the Fairness Hearing or change any of the deadlines described in the notice. The date of the Fairness Hearing may change without further notice to Class Members. Be sure to check this settlement website for news of any such changes. You can also check whether the hearing date or any deadlines have changed by accessing the case docket via the Court’s Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) system at https://ecf.cand.uscourts.gov.

  • No. Class Counsel will answer questions the Court may have. But, you are welcome to come at your own expense. If you sent an objection, you don’t have to come to Court to talk about it. As long as you mailed your written objection on time, the Court will consider it. You may also pay your own lawyer to attend, but it’s not necessary.

  • You may ask the Court for permission to speak at the Fairness Hearing. To do so, you must have indicated your desire to speak at the hearing in your objection letter. You cannot speak at the hearing if you excluded yourself.

  • If you do nothing, you’ll receive a settlement payment as described above, as long as the Court approves the settlement. But, unless you excluded yourself, you won’t be able to start a lawsuit, continue with a lawsuit, or be part of any other lawsuit against Wells Fargo about the legal issues in this case, ever again.

  • The notice summarizes the proposed settlement. More details are in the Settlement Agreement, available on the Important Documents page.

    You can email the settlement administrator at info@HomeLoanModificationSettlement.com or call 1-877-545-0236 toll free; or review this website, where you will find answers to common questions about the settlement, plus other information to help you determine whether you are a Class Member and whether you are eligible for a payment.

    All the case documents that have been filed publicly in this case are also available online through the Court’s Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) system at https://ecf.cand.uscourts.gov. This case is called Hernandez et al. v. Wells Fargo Bank, and the case number is 3:18-cv-07354-WHA (N.D. Cal.).

    You may also obtain case documents by visiting the office of the Clerk of Court for the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, San Francisco Division, 450 Golden Gate Avenue, 16th Floor, San Francisco, California 94102, between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, except court-observed holidays. More information about the clerk’s office hours and other locations can be found at https://www.cand.uscourts.gov/locations.

    You can also contact Class Counsel for them to answer questions:

    CLASS COUNSEL
    Richard Paul
    PAUL LLP
    601 Walnut Street, Suite 300
    Kansas City, MO
    Telephone: (816) 984-8100
    Facsimile: (816) 984-8101
    rick@paulllp.com
    Michael Schrag
    GIBBS LAW GROUP LLP
    505 14th Street, Suite 1110
    Oakland, CA 94612
    Telephone: (510) 350-9718
    Facsimile: (510) 350-9701
    mls@classlawgroup.com

    PLEASE DO NOT TELEPHONE THE COURT OR THE COURT CLERK’S OFFICE TO INQUIRE ABOUT THIS SETTLEMENT.

     

For More Information

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Mail

Hernandez, et al. v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.
c/o JND Legal Administration
P.O. Box 91350
Seattle, WA 98111