SAN FRANCISCO — The California First District Court of Appeal recently upheld a superior court's decision to award $17,685 to defendants Deutsche Bank National Trust Company and OneWest Bank N.A., ruling that the plaintiffs sought "to delay the foreclosure... of their former home, harass the defendants and frustrate the legal system."
The plaintiffs, Morris and Shawn Maxwell, had alleged that the financial institutions "illegally foreclosed" on their rental property in San Mateo before selling it to a third party. The defendants argued that the plaintiffs did not pay mortgage for five years.
In its April 26 decision, the appeals court decided that the plaintiffs didn't have a strong enough argument against the San Mateo County Superior Court's decision that they pay the defendants $17,685 to cover attorney fees, which the superior court decided was appropriate to punish the plaintiffs for not having a "proper purpose" for suing the defendants.
The appeals court explained in its decision that the Maxwells brought the lawsuit against Deutsche Bank National Trust Company and OneWest Bank N.A. in February 2014 because the defendants foreclosed on the Maxwells' San Mateo County home.
The appeals court said in its decision that the Maxwells believed the superior court had erred "in ordering them to pay monetary sanctions of $17,685" and considered the amount to be excessive.
The appeals court said in its decision that "the trial court made clear in its ruling that it was ordering plaintiffs to pay monetary sanctions for litigating for an improper purpose."