Steve Weintraut’s client Robert Stafsholt prevails against Bank of America at the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

Robert Stafsholt was elected to represent the 29th Assembly District in the Wisconsin State Assembly in November, 2016, and since then he has been involved in developing Wisconsin state law in the legislative branch of state government. In March of this year, Stafsholt also helped develop state law in the judicial branch, when he obtained a favorable ruling from the Wisconsin Supreme Court in a mortgage foreclosure action that Bank of America (“BoA”) brought against him and his ex-wife Colleen more than seven years earlier.

Stafsholt hired Steve Weintraut to represent him against BoA at trial.

After BoA sued Stafsholt and was demanding that Stafsholt pay what he thought were improper charges or else lose his home, Stafsholt sought an experienced and aggressive trial attorney to represent him.

“When I asked a local banker if he knew an attorney referral for this case, he gave me Steve's name and contact information,” says Robert. “The banker told me that Steve represented a party that had counter-sued his bank and in his opinion, bested the bank’s attorney. He also told me that he rarely loses and was impressed with Steve’s ability.”

After a trial in 2014 and a Court of Appeals decision two years later, in March of 2018, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled in Stafsholt’s favor in two important ways.

  1. The Court decided for the first time that under Wisconsin law, attorney’s fees may be awarded as an equitable remedy, and that BoA’s successor, Nationstar Mortgage, had to pay Stafsholt’s attorney’s fees and costs that he had incurred in the foreclosure action.

  2. The Court ruled that the case should be remanded to the Circuit Court for calculation of the correct amount owed by Nationstar after accounting for Nationstar’s payment of Stafsholt’s attorney’s fees, with “all orders necessary to terminate the mortgage.”

Stafsholt did not prevail on the less important issue of whether Nationstar could collect interest during the lawsuit. But he is still very pleased with the end result, and with Steve Weintraut’s representation of him.

“Working with Steve has been a rock solid and steady team effort the entire time,” says Robert Stafsholt. “Steve explained things very well so I could make appropriate decisions. He had me come into the office and go over everything and we agreed to work together. I never looked back or questioned that decision once over the years it has taken to reach this point in the case.”

Stafsholt’s dispute and saga with BoA started in August 2010, when for the third straight year, BoA unnecessarily purchased and charged Stafsholt for overpriced lender-placed homeowners’ insurance (“LPI”). The LPI was unnecessary because Stafsholt had already purchased homeowners’ insurance through another insurance carrier at a lower cost, as he always had.

Stafsholt called BoA in September, 2010, to attempt to have the LPI charge removed from his account (as he did in the two previous years). The BoA representative on the phone told Stafsholt that she could not remove the charge, but that if Stafsholt defaulted on his mortgage, BoA would then give his case the “next level of customer service” and that the improper charge for LPI would be removed. In reliance on this misrepresentation, Stafsholt quit making his mortgage payment in September, 2010.

But instead of giving Stafsholt the “next level of customer service,” BoA declared Stafsholt in default under the Mortgage, and brought a foreclosure action in February, 2011. Throughout the lawsuit, BoA demanded that in order to avoid foreclosure on his home, Stafsholt needed to pay for the improper LPI charges and other costs BoA claimed that it incurred in the lawsuit. Stafsholt refused to pay the improper charges, and hired Steve Weintraut to represent him at trial and on appeal.

CLICK HERE to read an article published on October 20, 2017, before the Oral Argument in front of the Wisconsin Supreme Court on October 23, 2017.

CLICK HERE to read an article from the Wisconsin State Bar Association that discusses the Wisconsin Supreme Court Opinion.

CLICK HERE to read the Wisconsin Supreme Court Opinion.