Mortgages Expert Witness Testimony Allowed in Part in Mortgage Dispute Case

Summary: Mortgages Expert Witness testimony allowed in spite of defendant’s arguments that the expert does not offer Payment Waiver Protection programs in his own business.

Facts:  This case (Schneider et al v. CitiMortgage, Inc. et al – United States District Court – District of Kansas – August 13th, 2019) involves a mortgage dispute.  The plaintiffs refinanced a residential mortgage loan with the defendants.  The plaintiffs have brought this lawsuit for breach of contract, fraud, conversion, and failure to refinance.  The plaintiffs have hired A.W. Pickel (Mortgages Expert Witness) to provide expert witness testimony.  The defendant has filed a motion to exclude this expert from testifying.

Discussion:  In his report, Mr. Pickel discusses the fees that were applied to the plaintiffs’ loan, Kansas law on prepayment penalties, the Payment Waiver Protection (“PWP”) program, and other issues related to this case.

The defendants argue that Mr. Pickel’s expert witness testimony should be excluded in that it 1) is not relevant to the remaining breach of contract claims, 2) is unreliable, and 3) is unhelpful to the jury.

The court opines that Mr. Pickel’s opinion that the “interest rate was predatory” because it exceeded the usury rate is not relevant because the plaintiffs took out their usury claim.  The court also notes that Mr. Pickel’s opinion that the prepayment penalty was improper under Kansas law is irrelevant because Delaware law governs the contract.

The court, however, disagrees with the remaining relevancy arguments.  The court opines that it will allow Mr. Pickel’s opinions regarding the PWP payments and how the interest rate violated the note’s terms.  The court opines that these issues go to the weight of the arguments, not their admissibility.

The defendants argue that Mr. Pickel’s opinions on the PWP program are not reliable because he does not offer programs like the PWP in his own business.  The court opines that this argument goes to the weight of the evidence, not its admissibility and that the defendants are free to cross-examine Mr. Pickel on this issue.

In addition, the defendants allege that Mr. Pickel’s opinions are not reliable because he does not specify the interest rate impact of numerous overcharges and credits payments.  The court opines that Mr. Pickel has relevant, reliable, and helpful information on the issue of liability.  Mr. Pickel explains how he reached his opinion in his report and provides examples.

Last, the defendants contend that Mr. Pickel’s opinions are not helpful because he does not reach a conclusion on Plaintiffs’ damages.  The court opines that Mr. Pickel’s opinions are helpful to the jury.

Conclusion:  The motion to exclude the expert witness opinions of A.W. Pickel is granted in part and denied in part.