Attorney General Bill McCollum today announced that his office has obtained a federal court order remanding the Attorney General’s lawsuit against former Countrywide CEO and Chairman of the Board Angelo R. Mozilo back to Broward County Circuit Court.
The lawsuit, filed last June, addresses deceptive trade practices relating to Countrywide’s alleged practice of placing consumers in loans they could not afford or with rates which were false or misleading. Mozilo was named as a defendant.
“Angelo Mozilo should absolutely face a Florida court and Florida’s citizens for his business practices, especially those which victimized Florida homeowners,” said Attorney General McCollum.
“I am pleased the Federal Court sent the case back to our state court and my office will continue to aggressively pursue its case against Mr. Mozilo.”
When the civil complaint was originally filed in Broward County Circuit Court by the Attorney General’s Economic Crimes Division, Countrywide and Mozilo sought to remove the action to Federal Court in Florida and the case was subsequently consolidated in the Southern District of California.
Attorney General McCollum argued the case should be remanded to state court so Mozilo would be tried in Florida under Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act. Earlier this week, the Federal Court agreed with the Attorney General’s request and sent the case back to state court in Broward County.
In its order, the Federal Court cited Attorney General McCollum’s position that Mozilo should be held liable for the misleading and deceptive practices associated with sale and marketing of mortgages and mortgage backed securities. The Federal Court also agreed that the Attorney General’s claim that Mozilo managed, controlled and participated in the day-to-day activities of Countrywide was sufficient grounds to subject Mozilo to stand trial in Florida state court.
The litigation against Countrywide has since been resolved with a settlement. The litigation against Mozilo will continue in Broward County Circuit Court.