ABLE v. U.S. Bank, N.A., No. 15-3654 (6th Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
U.S. Bank participates in an FHA-backed mortgage insurance program that encourages lending to high-risk borrowers. U.S. Bank had to certify that it would meet certain requirements, and each time it requested an insurance payment, had to certify that it had followed 24 C.F.R. 203.500 requirements, including engaging in “loss mitigation” measures, such as attempting to arrange a face-to-face meeting with the defaulting borrower, before foreclosing. According to ABLE, an Ohio non-profit organization, U.S. Bank did not satisfy the loss mitigation requirement, wrongfully foreclosed on 22,000 homes, and wrongfully collected $2.3 billion in federal insurance benefits. ABLE alleged violation of the False Claims Act, 31 U.S.C. 3729. The Department of Justice declined to intervene. The district court found that ABLE premised its case on information that had already been publicly disclosed, precluding it from bringing suit as a qui tam plaintiff. The Sixth Circuit agreed, noting a 2011 consent order between U.S. Bank and the government, requiring U.S. Bank to implement reforms, including measures “to ensure [that] reasonable and good faith efforts, consistent with applicable Legal Requirements, are engaged in Loss Mitigation and foreclosure prevention for delinquent loans,” and a 2011 foreclosure practices review by three federal agencies, which noted that U.S. Bank had failed to take various mitigation measures.