NAPLES, Fla. — Todd Allen admits he didn't believe the Nyerges' story at first.
Even to the foreclosure defense attorney, the idea that a bank would try to take a home with no mortgage attached seemed too farfetched to be true.
But that's what happened to Warren and Maureen Nyerges, resulting in a legal battle that lasted more than 18 months.
Allen, who grew up in Draper, took the couple's case and won. And last week, he showed up at a Bank of America branch in Naples with sheriff's deputies and a moving truck to make sure his clients were compensated for legal costs.
A judge had given permission for office furniture at the bank to be seized, if necessary. An hour later, the bank had written a check for $5,772.88.
"I fight these banks on a daily basis in the courtroom, and some of their foreclosure tactics and their methods aren't very ethical and skirt the legal lines," Allen said. "It is sweet justice to turn the table and see them in an uncomfortable position."
The bizarre saga began in 2009, when the Nyergeses paid $165,000 cash for a 2,700-square-foot home that had been foreclosed on. Four months later, the couple received notice that Bank of America intended to foreclose on the home.
The Nyergeses knew a mistake had been made because they didn't have a mortgage with Bank of America or any other lender. But bank officials didn't believe them. Neither did several lawyers — including Allen, at least at first.
But after some research, the attorney discovered there was no mortgage on the property.
"This bank and a couple of others received bailouts from the government. Why didn't we treat them the same way they are treating everyday Americans? We should have just foreclosed on them and put them out of business." -ksl.com user Roscomann
"It was clear we had to go and get them compensated," he said.
Allen helped the Nyergeses fight the foreclosure, and they won.
In September 2010, Bank of America was ordered to pay the couple's attorney fees. When the bank didn't pay up, Allen got a judge's permission to seize assets.
Allen said the national media attention the David vs. Goliath-like story has received has resulted in hundreds of congratulatory emails, as well as messages from people who have experienced similar problems with large banks.
The former member of the Alta High School debate team hopes the case leads to big changes.
In a letter of apology to Warren and Maureen Nyerges, Bank of America promised to re-evaluate its foreclosure practices in an effort to prevent similar problems in the future.
"I don't believe it's going to happen overnight," he said. "If it does happen, I'll be excited and welcome the change."