7th Circ. Judge Rips Chase's 'Intransigent' Mortgage Handling

By Mike LaSusa
Law360 is providing free access to its coronavirus coverage to make sure all members of the legal community have accurate information in this time of uncertainty and change. Use the form below to sign up for any of our weekly newsletters. Signing up for any of our section newsletters will opt you in to the weekly Coronavirus briefing.

Sign up for our Appellate newsletter

You must correct or enter the following before you can sign up:

Select more newsletters to receive for free [+] Show less [-]

Thank You!

Law360 (May 1, 2020, 8:20 PM EDT) -- A Seventh Circuit judge split with two of his colleagues in a case accusing JPMorgan Chase of breaking a promise to modify a homeowner's mortgage in the wake of the 2008 financial meltdown, calling the bank an "intransigent" participant in post-crisis government aid programs.

The majority opinion issued Thursday by U.S. Circuit Judges Michael Y. Scudder Jr. and Diane S. Sykes said homeowner Anthony Taylor's case against JPMorgan Chase Bank NA doesn't pass legal muster because the bank never actually agreed to modify Taylor's mortgage in connection with the Home Affordable Mortgage Program.

Chase told Taylor to send in paperwork seeking a mortgage modification under HAMP, and he did — multiple times — but the bank never sent the paperwork back with the countersignature required to make the modification final, the majority said.

However, U.S. Circuit Judge David F. Hamilton disagreed with his colleagues' conclusion that "one sentence in the fine print of the HAMP documents nullified Chase's obligations and promises."

Judge Hamilton said the point of HAMP was to help avoid foreclosures for homeowners struggling with their mortgages, but he called Chase "a particularly intransigent, or perhaps incompetent, HAMP participant."

"The inference most generous to Chase here is that Taylor was eligible for HAMP relief and that Chase just failed to process his case correctly," the judge said.

Judge Hamilton said Taylor's case shouldn't be doomed by the mere lack of a countersignature.

"That conclusion is premature and requires resolving factual uncertainties in Chase's favor," the judge said, adding, "Not even Chase agrees with the majority that the countersignature requirement gave it a pocket veto over modifications for qualified homeowners."

The majority ruling Thursday backed the decision of an Indiana federal judge, who threw out Taylor's claims for breach of contract, fraud and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The lower court judge also said Taylor failed to adequately allege the existence of an agreement between him and Chase.

Counsel for Chase did not respond Friday to a request for comment. Counsel for Taylor declined to comment.

U.S. Circuit Judges Diane S. Sykes, David F. Hamilton and Michael Y. Scudder Jr. sat on the panel for the Seventh Circuit.

Taylor was represented at oral argument by Bradley Girard of the Georgetown Law Appellate Courts Immersion Clinic.

Chase was represented at oral argument by Jill Wheaton of Dykema Gossett PLLC.

The case is Anthony Taylor v. J.P. Morgan Chase Bank NA, case number 17-3019, in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.

--Editing by Breda Lund.

For a reprint of this article, please contact reprints@law360.com.

Attached Documents

Useful Tools & Links

Related Sections

Case Information

Case Title

Anthony Taylor v. J.P. Morgan Chase Bank, N.A.

Case Number



Appellate - 7th Circuit

Nature of Suit

4190 Other Contract Actions

Date Filed

September 29, 2017

Law Firms


Government Agencies

Judge Analytics

Hello! I'm Law360's automated support bot.

How can I help you today?

For example, you can type:
  • I forgot my password
  • I took a free trial but didn't get a verification email
  • How do I sign up for a newsletter?
Ask a question!