Court Rejects Unsupported Escrow Charges

Posted by NCBRC - April 9, 2013

In In the Matter of Breit, the chapter 13 trustee filed an objection to JPMorgan Chase’s proof of claim relating to the debtor’s residential mortgage.  No. 11-32461 (Bankr. N.D. Ind. March 27, 2013). In its POC, Chase claimed an arrearage in the amount of $27,897.09, encompassing unpaid monthly installments of $1,102.53 which represented a principal and interest component of $804.79, and an escrow component of $297.74. Under this calculation, Chase sought $7,145.76 attributable to the escrow deficiency. Although RESPA contemplates the creation of an escrow account to cover, among other things, tax and insurance payments that the mortgage servicer is forced to pay on behalf of a delinquent debtor, the trustee argued that the arrearage claim should be reduced by $3,379.35 because Chase had actually paid only $2,909.37 for those obligations. The court agreed. It rejected Chase’s “mathematical manipulation” (Chase’s phrase) in calculating the pre-petition escrow shortfall and permitted recovery only of those expenditures authorized by RESPA. Thus, even though Chase had met its initial burden of proof with respect to Rule 3001, it failed to counter the trustee’s evidence refuting the POC and therefore failed to meet its ultimate burden of proving the validity of the claim.

Breit opinion

Tags: ,

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.