Mary McCulley: Still the $6 Million Woman

Mary McCulley profile pic

That’s right.  Mary beat the bank.  Again.

In an appeal, U.S. Bank tried to get out of paying Mary McCulley the $6 million a Montana jury awarded her back in 2014.  Yesterday, the Supreme Court of Montana decided against U.S. Bank—they’re going to owe McCulley the $6 million, plus interest from the earliest possible date they could owe it, not the later one that had been bandied about.

Here is the Court’s own synopsis:

Mary McCulley bought a condominium in Bozeman and sought a 30-year, residential loan for $300,000 from Heritage Bank, which later merged with U.S. Bank. She later sued the Bank, alleging the Bank defrauded her by instead issuing an 18-month, $300,000 commercial loan, and failing to notify her of the change. When McCulley could not obtain refinancing and the condominium went into foreclosure, she attempted suicide. The jury found that the Bank defrauded McCulley and awarded her $1,000,000 in compensatory damages and $5,000,000 in punitive damages, which the District Court approved.

On appeal, U.S. Bank argued that testimony it had offered from a former bank officer and McCulley’s medical records were improperly excluded from evidence; challenged the sufficiency of the evidence to support the jury’s finding of fraud; argued that U.S. Bank could not be held liable for punitive damages arising out of Heritage Bank’s conduct that preceded the merger of the banks; and challenged the propriety of the punitive damages award. McCulley cross-appealed the date set by the District Court for interest to begin accruing on the judgment.

The Montana Supreme Court concluded that, because U.S. Bank had failed to provide the bank officer’s journals to McCulley during the discovery process, the officer was prohibited from testifying with respect to the journals. The Court further concluded that because U.S. Bank failed to lay a proper evidentiary foundation for McCulley’s medical records, they were properly excluded. The Court held that fraud was demonstrated because evidence at trial established that the Bank falsely represented it would provide a 30-year, residential loan to McCulley, the Bank knew the representation was false, and the Bank intended McCulley to rely on the false representation, which she did to her detriment. The Court also held that, because the federal Bank Merger Act required U.S. Bank to assume “all liabilities” of Heritage Bank, U.S. Bank was properly held liable for all damages, including punitive damages, arising out of Heritage Bank’s conduct, and that circumstances proven during the trial supported the punitive damages award because the Bank’s conduct was reprehensible, the ratio between compensatory damages and punitive damages fell within the guidelines provided by the United States Supreme Court, and the statutory cap on punitive damages provided by the Montana Legislature was not exceeded. Lastly, the Court concluded that interest on the judgment must accrue from the date of the jury’s verdict, not the date of District Court’s post-trial decision approving the award. Thus, the Court affirmed the damages judgment, and reversed the calculation of interest on the judgment.

That friends, is a sweet, sweet victory, for Mary and for bank fighters everywhere.  It gives all of us at least a modicum of hope that the banks will be held accountable for their misdeeds.  At the very least, it is an acknowledgment that, as Mary herself said:

Hey wake up!  The banks do lie, cheat, and steal.

About eggsistense

Writer, musician, cartoonist, human being
This entry was posted in Foreclosure, Foreclosure fraud, Mary McCulley, US Bank and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to Mary McCulley: Still the $6 Million Woman

  1. it’s fraud on the lower court now, they could have stopped it and they didn’t

  2. Deadly Clear says:

    Reblogged this on Deadly Clear and commented:
    This is terrific. Reading just the synopsis is extremely emotional. There is a movie here, Mary!

  3. nacainte says:

    Reblogged this on Awaken Longford and commented:
    Good News is great….but made better when it concerns a Bank at the thin end of the wedge…..good woman – Mary!

  4. duzBme says:

    This gives hope to all who are fighting banks through the courts. Do not let them bully you and stay strong. It is not easy to get Justice and it is fantastic to see this rightful and correct verdict. Top Marks. @duzbme

  5. Pingback: It can be done… | nosmallinjustice

  6. Ernie Cicco says:

    Articles like this are useful to an attorney assisting those facing foreclosure, because such articles provide leads to law that can be useful in fighting bank criminality. I was interested in the mention in this article of the Bank Merger Act because it could have been helpful in a former case (which was settled, but not based on merging banks assuming liabilities). When an article refers to an “Act” of the government, it is usually easiest to Google the act and find the sections of US Code in which it is codified. In this case, the only reference I was able to find Googling the Act referred to 12 USC 1828. There was no other reference by searching the internet. To find the part of the Act to which the Montana Supreme Court was referring, I had to go to the Court’s opinion to see how it arrived at its conclusion, and I found the all important citation to 12 USC sec. 215a. What was referred to by every internet reference, including findlaw and others, was 12 USC 1828, which does not provide any guidance on when banks merge, whether they assume liabilities as well as assets.

    My suggestion is that when referring to a law by its Act’s name, please cite the actual Code citation too.

    Regardless of my hopefully constructive critique, this was a good and useful article.

  7. eggsistense says:

    It is a very constructive critique, and I appreciate the info. Hopefully others will also find it useful.

  8. Stan Burman says:

    Reblogged this on California Freelance Paralegal and commented:
    The Montana Supreme Court upholds a $6 million dollar verdict in favor of Mary McCulley against US Bank. It is always great news when the Supreme Court of any State upholds a decision that went against one of the big banks.

    • Harry says:

      Why should she get $6 million for this? She agreed to the terms when she signed the documents.

      • Stan Burman says:

        She did NOT agree to the terms as the bank changed the terms and lied to her. If someone signs a contract and the other party changes the terms and lies to them that is called fraud.

  9. Stan Burman says:

    Now if only the California Supreme Court will uphold the Glaski decision in the pending case of Yvanova v. New Century Mortgage Corporation that is now fully briefed as of March 15, 2015 per the California Supreme Court website.

  10. still haven’t given her the money they owe her, she should foreclose on something

  11. Harry says:

    This is a bogus case. The bank did nothing wrong.
    Why did she borrow the money in the first place, if she knew she couldn’t afford to pay it back?

  12. Harry says:

    Greedy Mary

  13. eggsistense says:

    Harry the bank troll showed up! Are you a computer, “Harry?” A robot? Or just someone with no reading comprehension, because two different Montana courts have now explained in explicit detail what the bank did wrong. A jury of her peers agreed that she was harmed. That’s how the system works, “Harry.” Go ply your pro-bank BS elsewhere. I am leaving your previous comments up to show how desperate the poor, pitiful banks are to bring people back into the fold–they have to send someone to this li’l ol’ blog to try to defend them–but if “Harry” posts anything else along these lines, those comments will not be approved. Bank propaganda is destroyed here, not tolerated or encouraged. Tell your bosses that–it obviously makes them tremble.

  14. Aaron says:

    Good job Mary.
    Currently fighting my own legal battle now against byline bank in Chicago.
    I think my case is worse tho. They forged mortgage documents to show I owed them multiple million dollar mortgages on houses only worth a fraction of that. Also forged a note. Oh and guess what? It was all notarized by the loan officer who did the deal. Had to pay for forensics to state what I already knew.
    Of course they say they are ” comfortable with the enforceability of the mortgages”

    We shall see.

  15. Aaron says:

    I’m interested in the lawsuit verbiage if anyone has any links for me.

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