Mortgage 'kickback' lawsuit dismissed

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A federal judge Friday dismissed a lawsuit filed by a Westmoreland County man accusing Cincinnati-based Fifth-Third Bank of taking "kickbacks" from mortgage insurers.

U.S. District Judge Mark R. Hornak wrote in his four-page opinion that Christopher Manners of Latrobe and another plaintiff from Illinois, had missed the one-year statute of limitations under the Real Estate Settlement Practices Act. Their complaint, the judge wrote, "says nothing about what prompted the plaintiffs' discovery or when it occurred," nor does it say why they filed the lawsuit "several years after the limitations period expired."

Mr. Manners and the other plaintiff had said that Fifth-Third Bank required that home buyers purchase private mortgage insurance if they made down payments of less than 20 percent of the home's value, as is common in the industry. The plaintiffs alleged, though, that Fifth-Third Bank arranged that the insurers purchase reinsurance through the bank's subsidiary -- in effect a kickback, which they said was illegal.

Judge Hornak closed the case, but dismissed it without prejudice, leaving open the possibility that the plaintiffs could file it again.

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