• Posts by Matthew T. Mitchell
    Matt Mitchell
    Partner

    Matt Mitchell is a partner in the firm’s financial services litigation practice group, where he defends financial institutions such as banks, mortgage lenders, credit card companies, auto finance companies and debt ...

On Friday, March 27, 2020, President Trump signed into law the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), an emergency spending bill providing $2 trillion in relief to individuals and businesses who have or will suffer negative economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Credit Reporting

The CARES Act amends the Fair Credit Reporting Act by creating new reporting rules in those instances where a furnisher makes an  “accommodation,” which is defined as “an agreement to defer one or more payments, make a partial payment, forbear any delinquent amounts ...

Although courts across the country agree that “a plaintiff class should not be certified unless membership therein is ‘adequately defined and clearly ascertainable,’” the extent of what a plaintiff must provide to satisfy this “implicit requirement” to certification varies among circuit courts.  See Ocwen Loan Servicing, LLC v. Belcher, No. 18-90011, 2018 WL 3198552, at *3 (11th Cir. June 29, 2018) (citations omitted).  For example, some circuit courts have construed the requirement to “mean[] a plaintiff must demonstrate an ‘administratively feasible’ ...

Posted in: TCPA

In Roark v. Credit One Bank, N.A., No. 16-173 (PAM/ECW), 2018 WL 5921652 (D. Minn. Nov. 13, 2018), the District Court of Minnesota found that calls to a reassigned phone number did not violate the TCPA because the caller's reliance on the prior owner's express consent was reasonable.

The plaintiff, Stewart Roark ("Plaintiff"), alleged Credit One Bank, N.A. ("Credit One") violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act ("TCPA") by using an automatic dialer ("ATDS") to call his cell phone number and left a prerecorded voicemail on his phone without his consent. See generally id.

On September 8, 2015, United States District Judge Marvin H. Shoob declared Georgia's statutory garnishment process unconstitutional in Strickland v. Alexander, No. 1:12-CV-02735-MHS (N.D. Ga. Sept. 8, 2015) (granting summary judgment for plaintiff). In what is sure to be the first of many county-level responses, Gwinnett County officials announced on September 9, 2015 that they will stop issuing garnishment summonses and disbursements pending further judicial instruction. The opinion will potentially affect the debt collection industry (for an unknown duration ...

Posted in: Georgia

In Roth v. CitiMortgage Inc., 2014 WL 2853549 (2nd Cir. June 24, 2014), the Second Circuit held that although a mortgage had three letters requesting various mortgage related information sent by her lawyer, the mortgagor's RESPA claim was properly dismissed on the basis that her lawyer's letters were not sent to CitiMortgage's designated QWR address. Accordingly, the requests were not QWRs under RESPA and did not trigger CitiMortgage's QWR duties under RESPA. In Roth, Defendant CitiMortgage Inc. serviced a second residential mortgage for Plaintiff Patricia Roth. Roth alleged ...

In Charvat v. Mutual First Federal Credit Union, 2013 WL 3958300 (8th Cir. Aug 2, 2013), the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals held that actual damages in the form of an economic injury is not required to confer standing under the Electronic Fund Transfer Act ("EFTA"), 15 U.S.C. § 1693. The plaintiff sought statutory damages in a putative class action, alleging that the defendants failed to provide the required notices on their ATM's before charging him a transaction fee for withdrawing cash. The EFTA prohibits charging a transaction fee unless the ATM provides notice of the fee on both ...

Posted in: EFTA, Eighth Circuit

In Keim v. ADF MidAtlantic, LLC, 12-80577-CIV, 2013 WL 3717737 (S.D. Fla. 2013), the Southern District of Florida granted a motion to dismiss a TCPA class action complaint, holding that the defendants' Rule 68 offer of full potential relief to the named plaintiff rendered said plaintiff's individual claims moot and, in turn, that the Court lacked subject matter jurisdiction over the claims. The plaintiff in Keim filed a class action complaint for statutory damages and injunctive relief under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (the "TCPA") for sending unsolicited commercial ...

In Schlegel v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., 2013 WL 3336727, (9th Cir. July 3, 2013), the Ninth Circuit held that Wells Fargo did not qualify as a "debt collector" under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act ("FDCPA"), even though the mortgage debt it sought to collect was in default at the time it was assigned to Wells Fargo. The facts of this case are relatively simple. After the plaintiffs' defaulted loan was assigned to Wells Fargo, the plaintiffs entered into a loan modification agreement with Wells Fargo and proceeded to make payments under the agreement. However, Wells Fargo began ...

Posted in: FDCPA, Ninth Circuit
In American Express Co. v. Italian Colors Restaurant, ___ S. Ct. ___ (2013), the Court continued its recent trend of strictly enforcing the terms of arbitration agreements. In a 5-3 decision, penned by Justice Scalia, the Court held that a contractual waiver of class arbitration is enforceable under the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) even if the high cost of proving an individual claim in arbitration exceeds the plaintiff's potential recovery. The plaintiffs were merchants that had agreed with American Express to settle all disputes between the parties via arbitration ...

In Young v. Wells Fargo, Case No. 12-1405 (1st Cir. May 21, 2013), the First Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a district court's dismissal of plaintiff Susan Young's breach of contract claim premised on Wells Fargo's alleged failure to comply with its obligations under the Trial Period Plan ("TPP"), a temporary loan modification period during which Young applied for a permanent loan modification. Young alleged that, after falling behind on her mortgage payments, she entered into a series of discussions with Wells Fargo in an attempt to negotiate a loan modification. Eventually ...

In Mais v. Gulf Coast Collection Bureau, Inc., the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida addressed the question of whether providing one's cell phone number during a hospital admission amounts to prior express consent under the TCPA to receive collection calls arising out of the hospital visit. __ F. Supp. 2d __, 2013 WL 1899616, at 11 (S.D. Fla. May 8, 2013). Under the particular facts of Mais, the court answered the question in the negative. During a hospital visit, the plaintiff's wife had provided the plaintiff's cell phone number to the hospital's ...

Posted in: Florida, TCPA

The District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan recently held that a debt collector's accusation during a telephone call that the debtor was "lying" was sufficient to state a claim under the harassment and abuse provisions of the Federal Debt Collection Practices Act. In Summers v. Merchants & Medical Credit Corp., 2013 WL 1507529, the Debtor-Plaintiff alleged that a representative of Defendant Merchants & Medical Credit Corporation accused her of "not being honest" and specifically accused her of "lying" about her job during a conversation in which the agent attempted to ...

Posted in: FDCPA, Michigan

In Riddle v. Bank of America Corp., et al., 2013 WL 1482668 (E.D. Pa. Apr. 11, 2013), the federal district court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania held plaintiffs' allegation that the defendants actively concealed a reinsurance kickback scheme was sufficient to equitably toll the running of RESPA's one-year statute of limitations and, as such, that plaintiffs' RESPA claim could survive dismissal.

The plaintiffs filed a putative RESPA class action suit against Bank of America and various mortgage insurers claiming that the defendants engaged in an illegal scheme whereby ...

Posted in: Pennsylvania, RESPA

On March 7th, the Florida Supreme Court held that the economic loss rule (the doctrine that an economic loss is not recoverable under a tort theory unless accompanied by physical property damage or personal injury) applies only to products liability cases, effectively eliminating use of the doctrine in consumer cases. Tiara Condominium Ass'n, Inc. v. Marsh & McLennan Cos., Inc., 2013 WL 828003 (Fla. Mar. 7, 2013). In Tiara, a condominium association sued its insurance broker under both tort and contract theories for failing to inform the association that it was underinsured for ...

Posted in: Florida

An Alabama federal court recently rejected an attempt by certain merchant defendants to dismiss claims brought under the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act ("FACTA"), 15 U.S.C. § 1681, et seq., on the basis of the plaintiffs' failure to allege actual damages. In the case, Amason v. Kangaroo Express, the plaintiffs sued merchants with whom they had transacted business, alleging that the defendants willfully violated FACTA by printing more than the last five digits of the plaintiffs' credit and debit card numbers on receipts. No. 7:09-2117-RDP, 2013 WL 987935, at 3 (N.D ...

Posted in: Alabama, FACTA, FCRA

The Sixth Circuit issued an opinion last week in Christian County Clerk v. Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc., et al., 2013 WL 565198 (6th Cir. Feb. 15, 2013), addressing whether the district court properly dismissed two Kentucky county clerks' complaint against MERS and fifteen financial institutions for violations of state recording statutes. The subject complaint alleged that the Defendants, by establishing and participating in the MERS system, violated Kentucky law by failing to record mortgage assignments and, more specifically, created MERS "to enable its ...

Posted in: Kentucky

A New Jersey federal district court recently denied a motion to reconsider its previous holding that state law limitations on class actions do not apply to TCPA claims filed in federal court. At issue in the case, Landsman & Funk, P.C. v. Skinder-Strauss Associates, No. 08-3610, 2013 WL 466448 (D.N.J. Feb. 8, 2013), was a New York procedural law, C.P.L.R. § 901(b), which prohibits statutory class actions unless the statute creating liability explicitly provides for recovery in the form of class actions. The court had previously determined that the statute would apply under a choice of ...

Posted in: New Jersey, TCPA
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