Amerisave defamed laid off workers, go well with claims
Laid off employees of AmeriSave Mortgage Corp. are slamming the lender in a class action lawsuit, claiming the firm disparaged workers following a mass termination and that it owes them a combined millions of dollars.
The complaint, including accusations of fraud and negligence, was elevated this week by attorneys for Amerisave from a California state court to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California. Eleven plaintiffs suggest a class as large as 140 impacted workers are entitled to damages exceeding $43 million.
“Plaintiffs also contend that AmeriSave falsely told third-party industry professionals, recruiters (and) hiring managers that putative class members had been terminated because putative class members had ‘not gotten the job done’ or did ‘not meet performance goals,'” wrote attorney David Syme of Syme Law Firm in the original complaint filed in November.
Recourse sought for the entire possible class includes $26 million in unpaid and future wages; $2 million in Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification penalties; $7 million for emotional distress among other alleged damages.
A spokesperson for AmeriSave Friday said the company doesn’t comment publicly on pending litigation, and attorneys for the parties didn’t return requests for comment.
The Atlanta-based lender closed its wholesale channel last October and at the time laid off an unspecified number of workers. No WARN was filed in California according to public records, a violation, claims former employees citing state law.
Plaintiffs based in California, Oregon and Nevada allege a mass firing by AmeriSave between last July and August, which largely impacted workers hired in the previous three months. The move came despite management’s alleged suggestion earlier in the year that the firm had a $1.5 billion “war chest” to insulate it from market woes.
“They said the upcoming ‘rough times’ would eliminate the competition, and leave AmeriSave in a dominant position,” wrote Syme. “AmeriSave actually used this explanation as a ‘feature and benefit’ and a recruiting tool.”
AmeriSave also falsely indicated in Nationwide Multistate Licensing System records that terminated employees were fired “for cause,” which some workers discovered only when their new employers notified them, the suit said. While a firing for a lack of production is common, it’s not recognized as “for cause,” Syme wrote.
“This sort of notation gives rise to speculations that the true cause might have been rape, or sexual harassment, workplace violence, theft or other serious, or even criminal issues,” he wrote.
The lender also allegedly communicated similar falsehoods to recruiters, telling them the fired employees had “not gotten the job done.” AmeriSave laid off employees in a similar manner in 2011, the suit said, and counsel asserted that it could produce witnesses who would testify to the prior instances.
AmeriSave was founded in 2002, and last February said it funded more than $36 billion across nearly 130,000 refinances and purchase loans in 2021.
Some of the over 20,000 mortgage professionals laid off across the industry last year have filed similar WARN and unpaid wage complaints, although the AmeriSave suit contains some of the more scathing accusations. A federal bankruptcy judge last week granted class-action status to former employees of First Guaranty Mortgage Corp. who allege WARN violations in the firm’s sudden shutdown last June. Ex-workers allegedly burned by Sprout Mortgage’s shutdown last July are also reportedly nearing a settlement over their wage claims.