Jamaica: Couple sue Scotiabank for fraud and negligence

(JAMAICA GLEANER) – The dream of owning a house is a precious aspiration for many Jamaicans, but it is a dream for one Portland couple that has turned nightmarish, as the supposed house they thought they had bought is still occupied, leaving them with only a section of farmland to show for their troubles.

Now they are blaming one of Jamaica’s largest commercial banks, Scotiabank Jamaica, for their plight.

Christopher and Diana Logan explained that they responded to a series of published adverts about an incomplete two-storey house located in Windsor Forest, Portland, that was up for sale.

Having made initial checks, they subsequently contacted a representative from Scotiabank Jamaica, who initiated steps to draft up a sales agreement for the house, comprising five bedrooms, and situated on 7.95 acres of land and valued at $10.5 million.

“That was the beginning of this nightmare that has left us practically homeless, hopeless, and almost destitute,” said Mrs Logan.

The Logans are now seeking special damages against Scotiabank to the tune of $34.25 million, to include legal fees, loss of National Housing Trust (NHT) benefits, and interest paid to NHT (eight months), as well as the loss of equity on the advertised property.

Scotiabank, however, is only willing to pay them the value of the house, an amount that was flatly rejected as “disrespectful” by the Logans.

“We have been through hell. We have sued people who we have no right to have sued. My husband and I have been relying on family members and friends to help us out with money on a day-to-day basis, and that is the best Scotiabank can do?”

Jenene Laing, the Logans’ legal representative, said that her clients feel that they have been used by the bank to clear up a previously unpaid mortgage by the current occupants of the house and that they intended to use the purchase, in one fell swoop, to oust the occupants and recoup monies due to them.

She said that the bank clearly had knowledge that the disputed house was not located on the property bought by the Logans and, by extension, that her clients have sued the bank for fraud and negligence in misrepresentation.

“The bank’s attorney advised that Scotiabank had appointed a surveyor to conduct a survey of the property on the title in August 2017, and later confirmed that he advised that there was no house on the property,” Laing stated.