The Supreme Court Settles a Decade-Long Debate-2012 Survey of RESPA Developments
In 2012, the United States Supreme Court was expected to issue opinions in two cases that would address important issues under the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act ("RESPA").
In the first case, Freeman v. Quicken Loans, Inc., the Court unanimously settled a long-standing split in authority among the federal circuit courts of appeal regarding the interpretation of the most litigated provision of RESPA, section 8(b). However, in the second case, Edwards v. First American Corp., the Court declined to address the question of whether a plaintiff has standing to bring a claim under a federal statute that provides for statutory damages without alleging any actual damages. Instead, the Court determined that certiorari was improvidently granted. In doing so, it avoided addressing an issue that could have had a far-reaching impact on private actions under other federal statutes. In addition, lower federal courts across the country continued to debate the scope of sections 8(a) and 8(b) of RESPA as well as issues involving affiliated business arrangements, qualified written requests, class actions, and whether provisions of RESPA other than section 8 contain a private right of action.
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