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Kautsman v. Carrington Mortgage Services LLC

United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle

January 6, 2020

NIKOLAY KAUTSMAN and OLGA KOFANOVA, and each on behalf of himself/herself, and all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
v.
CARRINGTON MORTGAGE SERVICES LLC, a Delaware Corporation, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

          JOHN C. COUGHENOUR, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This matter comes before the Court on the parties' joint motion for preliminary approval of the class settlement agreement pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(e) (Dkt. No. 103). Having thoroughly considered the motion and the relevant record, the Court finds oral argument unnecessary and hereby GRANTS the motion for the reasons explained herein.

         On November 23, 2019, named Plaintiffs Nikolay Kautsman and Olga Kofanova executed a settlement agreement with Defendants Carrington Mortgage Services and Carrington Home Solutions L.P. (collectively, “the Parties”). For purposes of this order, all of the terms and definitions set forth in that settlement agreement shall apply herein. Having reviewed the settlement agreement and considered the parties' original and renewed submissions in support of preliminary approval of the settlement, the Court now FINDS and ORDERS as follows:

         I. CERTIFICATION OF SETTLEMENT CLASS

         A. The Expanded Settlement Class

         1. The agreement settles all released claims, as defined therein, that have been or could have been brought in this putative class action. The agreement provides for a nationwide class settlement of the released claims concerning certain activities occurring prior to final disposition of subject properties, which are the subject of this lawsuit.

         2. On or about August 25, 2017, the named plaintiffs moved for class certification. (Dkt. No. 34). The Court certified a class in the lawsuit in November 2018, defining the class as follows:

“All persons (a) who own(ed) real property in Washington State subject to a deed of trust or mortgage serviced or held by Carrington Mortgage Services, LLC (“CMS”), and (b) who, within the applicable statute of limitations, had their property entered and rekeyed by CMS and/or its agents, prior to CMS completing a foreclosure of the property.”

(Dkt. No. 89).

         3. The parties have jointly requested the Court expand this certified class for purposes of settlement. This proposed settlement class would include those who may have had a final disposition other than foreclosure. accordingly, the settlement class is defined as follows:

All persons who own or owned real property in the state of Washington subject to a deed of trust or mortgage serviced or held by CMS who within the applicable statute of limitations, had their property entered and rekeyed by CMS prior to CMS completing Final Disposition of the property. For the purposes of this definition, Final Disposition includes foreclosure as well as other disposition events regarding the property, including deed in lieu, short sale, paid in full, or charge off.

         4. The Court hereby finds that this change is reasonable, fair, and adequate to the needs of the parties and the settlement class. Specifically, the proposed settlement class would expand the available number of individuals who stand to benefit under the terms of the settlement agreement. As noted by the parties, some loans in default result in foreclosure, but not all do. Instead, other defaulted loans are ultimately resolved via other means, including those identified within this expanded class definition.

         B. Findings Regarding the Settlement Class

         The Court finds as follows:

         1. Defendants have determined the size of the settlement class through their records and have identified 620 such settlement class members.

         2. There are questions of law and fact common to all members of the settlement class including whether the members of the settlement class own or owned real property subject to a deed of trust serviced by Defendants or their agents, whether this property was entered and/or rekeyed by Defendants, and whether Defendants' pre-foreclosure actions regarding these properties were in violation of law.

         3. The named Plaintiffs' claims are typical of the settlement class. The named Plaintiffs are members of the settlement class and allege that they have been harmed by the same conduct of Defendants as other members of the settlement class. Their claims are not in conflict with or antagonistic to the claims of the settlement class as a whole. The named ...


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