There will be a change of venue in the trial of USA v. Quicken Loans case—from Washington, D.C. to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern Michigan District, which is based in Quicken’s headquarter city of Detroit.
Judge Reggie B. Walton in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia granted Quicken’s motion to have the trial moved from D.C. to Detroit. Since the beginning of the bitter battle between Quicken and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Quicken had argued that Detroit was the only appropriate venue for the trial, since the majority of the company’s loan processing and underwriting operations are in Detroit. Quicken Loans is one of the largest non-bank mortgage lenders in the country by volume and the country’s largest Federal Housing Administration (FHA) lender.
Quicken sued the DOJ and HUD in April 2015, anticipating that a lawsuit from the DOJ was forthcoming. Quicken’s suit alleges the DOJ demanded the company make public admissions of fault, as well as pay a large penalty or face legal action, and the DOJ’s suit accuses Quicken of improperly originating and underwriting hundreds of FHA-insured mortgages on which HUD later paid millions of dollars in insurance claims due to defaulted loans.
“I think it is becoming increasingly clear what we have known all along: the DOJ case against QL has absolutely no merit,” said Dan Gilbert, Quicken Loans Founder and Chairman. “QL is the gold standard for residential lending in this country. We have had the FHA's lowest delinquency and default rates in the nation for years, resulting in billions of dollars of profits to the FHA insurance fund. It is obvious the DOJ made a conscious decision to exert pressure on the largest lenders in the country, using the weight of the federal government and its endless capacity to bring lengthy litigation and corresponding reputational damage without regard for the actual validity of its claims. DOJ's strategy was deployed for the sole purpose of extracting large settlements. We do not succumb to these egregious tactics. QL's outstanding reputation hard-earned over 31 years is not for sale.”
The Department of Justice declined to comment on the change of venue for the trial.
Quicken anticipated in its original court filing that it would take at least two years for the case to go to trial because of the D.C. venue; the trial may happen sooner now that the trial has been moved to Detroit.