The Law Office of J. Patrick Sutton

Mortgage lien invalidated on statute of limitations grounds

Today, the Texas Supreme Court refused to disturb a decision by the Tyler Court of Appeals invalidating a mortgage lien. See Landers v. Nationstar Mortgage, LLC, 461 S.W.3d 923 (Tex. App. - Tyler 2015, pet. denied). This was a case I handled at all levels of trial and appeal. The Texas Supreme Court had requested full briefing on the merits, so all the arguments were before the high court. Ultimately, the rule of law prevailed over strong lender protests that applying the statute of limitations was unfair.

The lender and servicer, Nationstar Mortgage LLC, sued the Landers, a family in Athens, Texas, to foreclose. However, the lender's suit was filed more than four years after the lender accelerated the loan. The lender argued that an injunction in a prior lawsuit that had barred a nonjudicial foreclosure sale for a few weeks had also prevented the lender from filing a lawsuit to foreclose. The 3-judge panel of the Texas Court of Appeals in Tyler unanimously rejected that argument and declared the lien void. Nationstar asked the Texas Supreme Court to reverse the Tyler Court of Appeals, but the Texas Supreme Court declined that invitation.
Landers is now good law and stands as one of the very few modern cases in Texas voiding a mortgage lien on limitations grounds. Content may continue . . .

The statute of limitations is tolled for class members

If you have a Texas home equity loan that JPMorgan Chase, Nationstar, or Bank of America modified to include interest-only payments or a balloon payment, you may already be protected by a pending class action. Your statute of limitations is the one for all class members, which relates back to the date the various class actions were filed. The class actions were filed in 2012 and 2013, protecting class members back to 2008 and 2009.

Don't assume your claim is too late if you fit within one of the class actions I have filed. Call me to discuss, and include your loan modification.Content may continue . . .

Nationstar Texas Class Actions Filed

On behalf of all affected Texans, my clients in Burnet and Dallas Counties have filed class actions against Nationstar Mortgage. The Burnet case is hair-raising: it alleges that Nationstar modified a Texas home mortgage loan (home equity loan, specifically) at least four times, more than doubling the principal amount of the original note and scheduling interest-only payments. The plaintiffs' monthly payment would QUADRUPLE at the end of the modifications, highlighting why the Texas Constitution forbids home equity loans from having interest-only payments.

The cases (click on the case to see the petitions are George et al. v. Nationstar Mortgage, LLC, Cause No. 41914 (Burnet County 424th District) and Graze v. Nationstar Mortgage, LLC, Cause No. DC-13-05406-H (Dallas County 160th Dist). These cases will be combined into the pending Nationstar MDL involving multiple additional cases of the same kind.

If you have a Nationstar loan that was modified, and Nationstar is threatening foreclosure, or badgering you to short-sell or give a deed-in-lieu-of-foreclosure, CONTACT ME IMMEDIATELY to protect your rights.Content may continue . . .

A blow against Nationstar's Loan Modification Practices in Texas

On August 16, 2013, the Texas Multidistrict Litigation Panel combined all my outstanding cases against Nationstar Mortgage (formerly Centex) in one court. Nationstar not only added very large sums to existing home equity loans with 2-page modifications, but concealed the practice by using interest-only and balloon-note clauses that hid how much was being added to the loans. Combining all the cases is a huge victory for the various plaintiffs around the state, since their payments usually jumped way up and put them in a bind -- making it difficult for them to afford the legal fees to fight Nationstar. Nationstar vigorously opposed consolidating the cases, hoping to keep the plaintiffs spread out and alone in the various counties. Now, as new cases get filed, all the cases will go into one court for uniform handling.

The MDL Order is here.Content may continue . . .

Nationstar and Centex Texas home equity loan modifications

If Nationstar or Centex modified your Texas home equity (or "cash out") loan to establish an interest-only period or a balloon, call me immediately! I've had a spate of calls involving Nationstar and Centex modifications that presumptively violate the Texas Constitution, and it would be wrongful for Nationstar to foreclose. Do not delay getting in touch with me to discuss your modified loan, but please obtain your loan modification paperwork and be prepared to provide that to me by fax (512) 355-4155 or email ( I require a retainer (a deposit) to take these cases, but if your modification violates the Texas Constitution, Nationstar has no lien to foreclose. It's important that you act quickly to protect your Texas Constitutional rights.Content may continue . . .

Home Equity Modifications that are interest-only

I've recently been seeing modifications of Texas home equity loans that recite an interest-only schedule of payments, usually for 1-5 years. The Texas Constitution, at Article 16 Section 50(a)(6)(L), in my view, makes such modifications illegal. That law provides that a Texas home equity loan must be paid in substantially equal installments that pay all accrued interest as of each payment date. The accompanying interpretive regulations make clear that some principal must also be paid, or else the loan isn't amortizing -- i.e., principal isn't getting paid down. If a modification of a Texas home equity loan recites a schedule of payments without principal -- even for a month -- it isn't amortizing, and the borrower has a strong legal case that the lien is invalid. Content may continue . . .
The Law Office of J. Patrick Sutton