The recent somewhat lengthy decision by U.S. District Court Judge Donovan W. Frank (D. Minn.) in Olson v. Wells Fargo makes for an excruciating read for those sympathetic to homeowners who lost their homes in the “mortgage meltdown economic collapse” era of 2005-2010. And it is also a devastating read for those sympathetic to homeowners’ lawyers during these trying times. It is the story of plaintiff-homeowners battling Wells Fargo for years for a loan modification to enable them to stay in their home. At times, they seemed within a hair’s breadth of hammering out a deal.
In fact, it seems that plaintiff’s counsel, Chris Daniels, Jesse Kibort, and others at Daniels & Kibort thought their years hard work on the plaintiff-homeowners’ behalf (and, I assume, their own) had paid off. Daniels & Kibort thought they had obtained a settlement from Wells Fargo. And not one that came quickly or easily. Wells Fargo, on the other hand, argued that they got close to a deal but they never actually reached a mutually acceptable arrangement. No one doubts plaintiffs and Wells Fargo came pretty close to settlement but Judge Frank’s decision denied the plaintiffs’ motion to enforce a settlement agreement and granted defendants’ motion for summary judgment on all claims.