Frequently Asked Questions

BASIC INFORMATION

  1. Why did I receive a Notice?

    Defendants’ records show that an appraisal from LandSafe was conducted in connection with a loan you may have received that was originated by Countrywide at any time between January 1, 2003, through December 31, 2008. The Notice explains that the Court has ordered, or “certified,” a class action lawsuit that may affect you. You have legal rights and options that you may exercise before the Court holds a trial or the case is otherwise resolved. Judge Christina A. Snyder, of the United States District Court for the Central District of California, is overseeing these class actions. The actions are comprised of two consolidated lawsuits, called Waldrup v. Countrywide Financial Corporation, Case No. 2:13-cv-08833-CAS (AGRx) and Williams v. Countrywide Financial Corporation, Case No. 2:16-cv-04166-CAS (AGRx).

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  2. What is this lawsuit about?

    Plaintiffs in this case are Barbara Waldrup, Elizabeth Williams, Becky Reaster, and Rebecca Murphy. They allege, on behalf of themselves and other similarly situated persons, that appraisals conducted by LandSafe Appraisal Services, Inc., in connection with mortgage loans originated by Countrywide Home Loans, Inc., and Countrywide Bank did not meet certain legal requirements and applicable appraisal standards, including the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP). Plaintiffs also allege that Defendants entered into an unlawful relationship and engaged in a fraudulent scheme to charge each Class Member approximately $300–$550 for residential real property appraisals that failed to comply with USPAP. Plaintiffs assert claims for violation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act on behalf of themselves and the Nationwide Class. Plaintiff Barbara Waldrup asserts a claim for Unjust Enrichment on behalf of herself and the Texas Class. Plaintiff Barbara Waldrup asserts for herself alone claims for fraud and violation of the California Unfair Competition Law. A copy of the Plaintiffs’ complaint is available on the Important Documents page of this website.

    The companies Plaintiffs sued (in this case Countrywide Home Loans, Inc., Countrywide Financial Corporation, LandSafe Appraisal Services, Inc., LandSafe, Inc., Bank of America, N.A., and Bank of America Corporation) are called the “Defendants.” All the Defendants deny they have acted unlawfully or improperly, deny that the class certification is appropriate, and deny Plaintiffs and the classes are entitled to any relief. A copy of the Defendants’ answer is available on the Important Documents page of this website.

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  3. What is a class action and what is involved?

    In a class action lawsuit, one or more people called “Class Representatives” (in this case Barbara Waldrup, Elizabeth Williams, Becky Reaster, and Rebecca Murphy) sue on behalf of themselves and on behalf of other people who have similar claims ("the Class" or "the Classes"). The Class Representatives are obligated to represent the Classes and will seek to prove their own claims and those of the Classes. Defendants deny Plaintiffs’ allegations as to the Class Representatives and as to all the Class members. Defendants will try to disprove the claims of the Class Representatives and Classes’ claims and will seek to prove Defendants' defenses. One court resolves the issues for both the Class Representatives and everyone in the Class – except for those people who choose to exclude themselves from the Class. The Court and a jury will hear the evidence and arguments presented by both sides and will decide who should prevail.

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  4. Why is this lawsuit a class action?

    The Court has decided that this lawsuit can be a class action and move towards a trial because it meets the requirements of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23, which governs class actions in federal courts.

    More information about why the Court certified this lawsuit as a class action is in the Court’s February 6, 2017, Civil Minutes and Order, which is available on the Important Documents page of this website.

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THE CLAIMS IN THE LAWSUIT

  1. How do Defendants answer?

    Countrywide, LandSafe, and all Defendants deny that Plaintiffs’ claims have merit and deny that Plaintiffs are entitled to any recovery in the lawsuits. Defendants contend they have not acted unlawfully or improperly. Countrywide, LandSafe, and all Defendants contend they have acted properly and prudently with regard to the mortgage loan appraisals at issue in the lawsuits, including compliance with USPAP. Defendants also deny that the matter should be certified as a class action and deny that the Classes are entitled to any recovery in the lawsuits. Defendants intend to seek decertification of the Class.

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  2. Has the Court decided who is right?

    The Court has not decided whether Plaintiffs or Defendants are correct. That will be done through future proceedings in the case. By establishing the Class and authorizing this website, the Court is not suggesting that Plaintiffs will win or lose this case. Plaintiffs must prove their claims. Defendants will have an opportunity to prove defenses. The trial has not yet been scheduled.

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  3. What are the Plaintiffs asking for?

    Plaintiffs seek an award for damages including payment by Defendants to the Class of all appraisal fees as well as treble damages and other relief sufficient to compensate for Defendants’ allegedly unlawful acts.

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  4. Is there any money available now?

    No benefits are available now. The Court has not yet decided whether Plaintiffs can prove their claims for relief and whether Defendants can prove their defenses. There is no guarantee that benefits will ever be obtained. If benefits become available, and you have not excluded yourself from the Class, another notification will be distributed about the available benefits.

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WHO IS IN THE CLASS

  1. Am I part of this Class?

    The Court defined a “Nationwide Class” of all individuals who meet the following requirements:

    All residents of the United States of America who, during the period January 1, 2003, through December 31, 2008, obtained an appraisal from LandSafe in connection with a loan originated by Countrywide.

    The Court defined a “Texas Unjust Enrichment Class” of all individuals who meet the following requirements:

    All residents of the State of Texas who, during the period January 1, 2003, through December 31, 2008, obtained an appraisal from LandSafe in connection with a loan originated by Countrywide.

    You received the Notice because Defendants' records indicate that you may be a resident of the United States who obtained a loan from Countrywide Homes Loans, Inc., or Countrywide Bank, N.A., and an appraisal may have been conducted by LandSafe Appraisal Services, Inc., in connection with that loan relating to residential real property during the time period January 1, 2003, through December 31, 2008.

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  2. How can I be sure I’m included in the Class?

    If you are still not sure if you are included in the Class, you can call the Notice Administrator, toll-free 877-835-0768, who may be able to answer some of your questions. The Notice Administrator cannot provide legal advice. Or, you may call or write to the lawyers representing the Classes in this case at the phone numbers or addresses listed in Question 16 below.

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YOUR RIGHTS AND OPTIONS

You must now decide whether to stay in the Class or ask to be excluded from the Class and the case.

  1. What happens if I do nothing at all?

    If you do nothing, you will remain a member of the Class. You do not need to do anything at this time. If you remain a Class Member, you will be bound by the result of this lawsuit. If the lawsuit is successful, you will share in any money or benefits that may be recovered. If the lawsuit is unsuccessful, you will not receive anything, and you will be barred from seeking other relief against Defendants for the claims asserted in this lawsuit. There is no guarantee that any relief or money will ever be obtained. However, if money or other relief is obtained, you will be notified. You also will receive information about how claims will be paid and instructions explaining what you must do to receive your share (if any) if you are a Class Member and do not exclude yourself.

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  2. How do I ask the Court to exclude me from the Class?

    If you ask to be excluded from the Class, you will not be entitled to any recovery of money or benefits, if any is ultimately awarded in connection with this case. However, you will retain any rights you may have now to sue Defendants about the same legal claims that are the subject of this lawsuit on your own.

    To exclude yourself from the lawsuit, you must send a letter stating that you want to exclude yourself from the lawsuit to the below address. Your exclusion request must include:

    • Your name;
    • Current mailing address;
    • Address of the mortgaged property that involved the LandSafe appraisal and Countrywide mortgage loan (if different from your current address);
    • The 10-digit identifier on the Notice Postcard you received;
    • A statement: “I/We request to be excluded from the Classes in this lawsuit."; and
    • Your signature and the signature of any coborrower under the mortgage loan.
      • If the signature of the coborrower cannot be obtained, please provide a brief explanation of the circumstances.

    You must mail the request letter to the below address, and it must be postmarked no later than March 19, 2019:

    Waldrup/Williams Appraisal Lawsuit
    Notice Administrator
    P.O. Box 3727
    Portland, OR 97208-3727

    If you have questions, you can call the Notice Administrator toll-free at 877-835-0768. However, exclusions via telephone or email will not be effective. Exclusions executed by someone besides you on your behalf will not be effective. You must sign the exclusion request.

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THE LAWYERS REPRESENTING YOU

  1. Do I have a lawyer in this case?

    The Court has appointed the law firms of Baron & Budd, P.C. and Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP as “Class Counsel.” Daniel Alberstone, Roland Tellis, Mark Pifko, and Evan Zucker of Baron & Budd, P.C. and Steve Berman, Thomas Loeser, and Christopher Pitoun of Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP are the attorneys working on this matter. Their contact information is provided below in Question 16.

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  2. Should I get my own lawyer?

    If you wish to remain a Class Member, you do not need to hire your own lawyer because Class Counsel is working on your behalf. You may make an appearance in the case through another attorney if you choose. If you wish to pursue your own case separate from this one, you will need to file a request for exclusion. If you do so, you will need to decide whether to hire your own attorney at your own cost.

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  3. How will the lawyers be paid?

    If Plaintiffs and Class Counsel obtain benefits for the Class, they will ask the Court for fees and expenses. You will not have to pay these fees and expenses. If the Court grants Class Counsel’s request or makes an award in a different amount, the fees and expenses would either be deducted from any benefits obtained for the Class or paid separately by Defendants.

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  4. How do I get more information?

    You may review FAQs on this website. You will also find Important Documents related to the lawsuit, including the Court’s Order on Class Certification, the Third Amended Class Complaint, and Defendants’ Answer. Please check the website regularly for updated information regarding the lawsuit. You may also access the Court's publicly available legal files at the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California in Los Angeles, California.

    You may also contact one of the following attorneys at the law firms appointed by the Court to serve as Class Counsel:

    Daniel Alberstone
    Roland Tellis
    Mark Pifko
    Evan Zucker
    Baron & Budd, P.C.
    15910 Ventura Boulevard
    Suite 1600
    Encino, CA 91436
    Telephone: (818) 839-2333
    Facsimile: (818) 986-9698
    Steve Berman
    Thomas Loeser
    Christopher Pitoun
    Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP
    301 North Lake Avenue
    Suite 920
    Pasadena, CA 91101
    Telephone: (213) 330-7150
    Facsimile: (213) 330-7152

    PLEASE DO NOT CONTACT THE COURT REGARDING THIS WEBSITE.

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