Articles Posted in Consumer Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for Accounts Receivable in an action under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. 1692 et seq. The court held that the district court did not err by applying the materiality standard to the relevant provisions of the Act; Accounts Receivable's inadequate documentation of the assignment did not constitute a materially false representation, and the other alleged inaccuracies in the exhibits were not material; and Accounts Receivable did not commit unfair practices and violate the Act by trying to collect interest under Minnesota Statutes 549.09. View "Hill v. Accounts Receivable Services, LLC" on Justia Law

Posted in: Consumer Law

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The Eighth Circuit reversed the district court's grant of summary judgment against Specialized Loan Servicing, in an action alleging violations of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) and the Minnesota Mortgage Originator and Servicer Licensing Act. The court held that plaintiff failed to prove actual damages under RESPA and therefore he failed to establish an essential element of his federal claim. In this case, the bank records that plaintiff obtained for 2012 and 2013 were irrelevant to the dispute whether his loan payments were past due before June 2011. In the alternative, plaintiff did not produce evidence to support a finding of "pattern or practice" here, and there was no evidence that Specialized failed to investigate and respond reasonably to qualified written requests from other borrowers. Consequently, the court reversed as to the state law claim as well. The court remanded with directions to enter summary judgment for Specialized on the RESPA claim and for further proceedings on the claim under the Minnesota Act. View "Wirtz v. Specialized Loan Servicing, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment on remand in favor of defendants in an action filed by mortgage loan borrowers alleging violation of the Truth in Lending Act (TILA). Specifically, borrowers alleged that the lender did not provide the required number of copies of the required notice and material disclosures, and thus borrowers could rescind their loan on a date just shy of the three-year anniversary of loan execution. The court held that the district court did not err in determining that the signed acknowledgement borrowers had executed created a rebuttable presumption that they received the required number of copies and that borrowers' evidence was insufficient to overcome that rebuttable presumption. View "Jesinoski v. Countrywide Home Loans, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment on remand in favor of defendants in an action filed by mortgage loan borrowers alleging violation of the Truth in Lending Act (TILA). Specifically, borrowers alleged that the lender did not provide the required number of copies of the required notice and material disclosures, and thus borrowers could rescind their loan on a date just shy of the three-year anniversary of loan execution. The court held that the district court did not err in determining that the signed acknowledgement borrowers had executed created a rebuttable presumption that they received the required number of copies and that borrowers' evidence was insufficient to overcome that rebuttable presumption. View "Jesinoski v. Countrywide Home Loans, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit reversed the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's complaint alleging that Gurstel violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), 15 U.S.C. 1692k(d), while collecting a consumer debt. The court held that plaintiff's brief did in fact challenge the district court's statute-of-limitations holding, and the district court should have focused on plaintiff's allegation and determined whether he plausibly alleged that Gurstel violated the FDCPA on that date. The court also held that plaintiff plausibly pleaded that Gurstel threatened to go to trial, but did not intend to proceed to trial when requesting the continuance, in violation of section 1692e(5), and the district court erred by dismissing plaintiff's claim that Gurstel's letter and discovery requests violated section 1692f(1). Accordingly, the court remanded for further proceedings. View "Demarais v. Gurstel Chargo, P.A." on Justia Law

Posted in: Consumer Law

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Plaintiffs filed suit against several financial entities for foreclosing on a mortgage loan. The district court granted summary judgment for defendants. At issue were plaintiffs' claims under the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act (MMPA), Mo. Rev. Stat. 407.020. The court affirmed and held that the foreclosure was justified because defendants had a right to foreclose on the house and thus the MMPA claim failed as a matter of law because the loss was not caused by any misconduct on behalf of defendants. Likewise, plaintiffs' tortious interference claim failed because the foreclosure was legal. View "Wheatley v. JP Morgan Chase Bank" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit alleging that GCF violated the Truth in Lending Act (TILA), 15 U.S.C. 1601 et seq., by failing to clearly and conspicuously disclose the annual percentage rate (APR) and finance charge in his Retail Installment and Security Contract. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of plaintiff's motion for judgment as a matter of law where the Summary of Understanding was not completely integrated; the district court thus did not err in admitting parol evidence; and there was sufficient evidence to support GCF's affirmative defense of waiver. The court also affirmed the district court's denial of plaintiff's motion for a new trial where there was no record of what objections plaintiff would have raised had the district court turned on "white noise" during the initial portion of the trial, nor was he prejudiced; even if the district court erred by not sustaining plaintiff's objection to GCF's counsel's statement during closing argument, the statement was not such a magnitude that a new trial was warranted; the court rejected plaintiff's claims of error as to the discretionary evidentiary rulings; and there was no error in the district court's response to a jury question. View "Smiley v. Gary Crossley Ford, Inc." on Justia Law

Posted in: Banking, Consumer Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against Fairview, alleging that the company made unauthorized telemarketing calls in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), 47 U.S.C. 227. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of Fairview's motion to dismiss, holding that whether consent is an affirmative defense is irrelevant to the Rule 12(b)(6) inquiry; the exhibits at issue were documents embraced by the pleadings that may be considered by the court; the district court did not commit plain error in concluding that the documents were properly authenticated documents reflecting an aspect of the parties' contractual relationship; given the contractual relationship alleged in the complaint, the district court did not err in considering the documents as reflecting plaintiff's pre-purchase consent; and Fairview's telemarketing calls were within the scope of the consent established. View "Zean v. Fairview Health Services" on Justia Law

Posted in: Consumer Law

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Jeannie K. May filed suit seeking to recover damages under state and federal law arising from the debt-collection practices of Nationstar. After a jury found in favor of May on her invasion-of-privacy claim and her claim that Nationstar negligently violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), 15 U.S.C. 1681, the jury awarded May compensatory damages on both claims and punitive damages on her invasion-of-privacy claim. The court concluded that there was ample evidence to support the jury's award of punitive damages and Nationstar's renewed assertions that it acted in good faith provided no legal basis to vacate the jury's verdict. In this case, the record reflected that May contacted Nationstar repeatedly in order to resolve the issue with her account; rather than suspend its efforts based on its erroneous assessment of her debt, Nationstar aggressively pursued collection, posted May's home for foreclosure and conducted inspections of her residence; Nationstar employees spoke to May in a mocking and sarcastic manner; and May suffered physical ailments from the stress caused by Nationstar's conduct. The court concluded that the $400,000 punitive damages award was not unconstitutionally excessive because of the reprehensible nature of Nationstar's conduct; the 8-to-1 ratio of the award was not unconstitutionally excessive; and the award did not violate due process. The court also concluded that the district court did not err by excluding the testimony of another borrower; and the jury instruction regarding the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), 26 U.S.C. 2601, was not plainly erroneous. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "May v. Nationstar Mortgage, LLC" on Justia Law

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These consolidated appeals stem from a class action suit against Target after the retailer announced a security breach by third-party intruders that compromised the payment card data and personal information of millions of customers. Class member Leif Olson challenges the class certification for lack of adequate representation due to an alleged intraclass conflict; class member Jim Sciaroni challenges the district court’s approval of the settlement agreement; and both challenge the district court’s order requiring them to post a bond of $49,156 to cover the costs of this appeal. The court held that the district court abused its discretion by failing to rigorously analyze the propriety of certification, especially once new arguments challenging the adequacy of representation were raised after preliminary certification. Therefore, the court remanded for the district court to conduct and articulate a rigorous analysis of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(a)'s certification prerequisites as applied to this case. The court also concluded that costs associated with delays in administering a class action settlement for the length of a class member’s appeal may not be included in an appeal bond under Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 7. Therefore, the court reversed and remanded for the district court to reduce the Rule 7 bond to reflect only those costs that Appellees will recover should they succeed in any issues remaining on appeal following the district court’s reconsideration of class certification. View "Sciaroni v. Target Corp." on Justia Law