Garofolo v. Ocwen Loan Serv., L.L.C. (Opinion)Annotate this Case
Garofolo took out a $159,700 home-equity loan. She made timely payments and paid off the loan in, 2014. Ocwen had become the note’s holder. A release of lien was promptly recorded in Travis County, but Garofolo did not receive a release of lien in recordable form as required by her loan’s terms. Garofolo notified Ocwen she had not received the document. Upon passage of 60 days following that notification, and still without the release, Garofolo sued, alleging violation of the home-equity lending provisions of the Texas Constitution and breach of contract. She sought forfeiture of all principal and interest paid on the loan. The federal district court dismissed. The Fifth Circuit certified questions of law to the Texas Supreme Court, which responded that the constitution lays out the terms and conditions a home equity loan must include if the lender wishes to foreclose on a homestead following borrower default, but does not create a constitutional cause of action or remedy for a lender’s breach of those conditions. A post-origination breach of terms and conditions may give rise to a breach-of-contract claim for which forfeiture can sometimes be an appropriate remedy. When forfeiture is unavailable, the borrower must show actual damages or seek some other remedy such as specific performance.