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ARTICLE ID 194374

$________ JUDGMENT – CLASS ACTION – FRAUD – COURT HITS LARGEST REAL ESTATE ESCROW COMPANY IN U.S. WITH RECORD CLASS ACTION TRIAL JUDGMENT – CUSTOMER OVERCHARGES

Los Angeles Superior Court

In what is possibly the largest class action trial judgment against a real estate escrow company, the defendant was accused of unlawfully overcharging more than ________ persons for escrow related services. The defendant denied the accusation.

The plaintiffs in this matter comprised a class of persons who used the services of defendant First American Title Company in the purchase, sale and/or refinancing of their California homes from June 15, ________ to October 8, ________. The defendant is a wholly owned subsidiary of First American Title Insurance Company, itself a wholly owned by First American Financial, a publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange. The plaintiffs asserted that under fee schedules defendant filed with the California Insurance Commissioner, the defendant should have charged no more than $60 for sub-escrow services, no more than $15 for wire transfer service, including an overnight delivery service, and no more than $25 for messenger service per transaction, for the period between June 15, ________, and October 7, ________.

The first of what became a class of complaints was filed by homeowner, Patrick Kirk, in the Los Angeles Superior Court for fraud and deceit; unfair competition; and unjust enrichment/restitution. Specifically, the defendant was accused of overcharging for escrow and sub-escrow services. The defendant denied the charges.

In the seven years preceding the two month trial, the defendant attempted no less than six separate attempts to have the court dismiss the case. All proved unsuccessful, and the matter was heard in court, with heard or read testimony from 33 witnesses, and approximately ________ exhibits of evidence.After two months of trial, the judge ruled that class members who paid defendant over $________ for sub-escrow services were entitled to reimbursement, as were those who paid a fee of more than $15 for a single wire transfer. The judge also awarded class members interest and court costs. The final judgment, including interest and costs, is estimated to exceed $________ when all calculations are finalized.

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