Articles Posted in Consumer Law

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Optometrists across the country noticed that Chase Amazon Visa credit card accounts had been fraudulently opened in their names, using correct social security numbers and birthdates. The victims discussed the thefts in Facebook groups dedicated to optometrists and determined that the only common source to which they had given their personal information was NBEO, where every graduating optometry student submits personal information to sit for board-certifying exams. NBEO released a Facebook statement that its “information systems [had] NOT been compromised.” Two days later, NBEO stated that it had decided to further investigate. Three weeks later, NBEO posted “a cryptic message stating its internal review was still ongoing.” NBEO advised the victims to “remain vigilant in checking their credit.” Victims filed suit under the Class Action Fairness Act, 28 U.S.C. 1332(d)(2). The district court dismissed for lack of standing. The Fourth Circuit vacated. These plaintiffs allege that they have already suffered actual harm in the form of identity theft and credit card fraud; they have been concretely injured by the use or attempted use of their personal information to open credit card accounts without their knowledge or approval. There is no need to speculate on whether substantial harm will occur. The complaints contain allegations demonstrating that it is both plausible and likely that a breach of NBEO’s database resulted in the fraudulent use of the plaintiffs’ personal information. View "Hutton v. National Board of Examiners in Optometry, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Fourth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for the bank in an action alleging violation of the Homeowners Protection Act. Plaintiffs alleged that the bank failed to make certain required disclosures in connection with their residential mortgage loans. The court held that the statute was clear that these mortgage insurance disclosures were mandated only if lender-paid mortgage insurance was a condition of obtaining a loan. In this case, because no such conditions applied to plaintiffs' loans, nondisclosure was not a violation of the Act. View "Dwoskin v. Bank of America, N.A." on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed suit against UTC and Honeywell under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), 47 U.S.C. 227, alleging that the companies were vicariously liable for illegal calls made by telemarketers promoting UTC and Honeywell products. The Fourth Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of the Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(d) motion because plaintiffs failed to show that they did not have an opportunity to discover specific evidence that was essential to their opposition to summary judgment. The court also affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment because plaintiffs failed to proffer more than a scintilla of evidence to support the conclusion that UTC and Honeywell were vicariously liable for the telemarketers' alleged TCPA violations. View "Hodgin v. UTC Fire & Security Americas Corp." on Justia Law

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Where an individual fails to allege a concrete injury stemming from allegedly incomplete or incorrect information listed on a credit report, he or she cannot satisfy the threshold requirements of constitutional standing. At issue in this case was whether the decision of Experian to list a defunct credit card company, rather than the name of its servicer, as a source of information on an individual's credit report -- without more -- created sufficient injury in fact under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), 15 U.S.C. 1681g(a)(2), for purposes of Article III standing. The Fourth Circuit found no concrete injury on behalf of plaintiff because he was not adversely affected by the alleged error on his credit report. Therefore, the Fifth Circuit vacated the district court's denial of Experian's motion for summary judgment and remanded with instructions that the case be dismissed. View "Dreher v. Experian Information Solutions" on Justia Law

Posted in: Consumer Law

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Plaintiff filed suit for damages in connection with a $66,500 loan secured by a deed of trust on her house. Plaintiff alleged that, in the administration of and collection efforts on the loan, defendants violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), 15 U.S.C. 1692 et seq.; the Truth in Lending Act (TILA), 15 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.; and the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), 12 U.S.C. 2601 et seq. The district court dismissed plaintiff's FDCPA and TILA claims and, following discovery, granted Wells Fargo’s motion for summary judgment on her RESPA claim. The court concluded that plaintiff adequately alleged that the White Firm and the Substitute Trustees were “debt collectors,” as that term is used in the FDCPA. Therefore, the court reversed the order of dismissal of her FDCPA claims against them and remanded for further proceedings, without suggesting whether or not those defendants violated the FDCPA. The court affirmed as to the TILA claims. View "McCray v. Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp." on Justia Law

Posted in: Banking, Consumer Law

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After Kimberly Adkins and Chaille Dubois filed separate Chapter 13 bankruptcy petitions in the Bankruptcy Court, Atlas filed proofs of claim in their bankruptcy cases based on debts that were barred by Maryland’s statute of limitations. At issue is whether Atlas violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), 15 U.S.C. 1692 et seq., by filing proofs of claim based on time-barred debts. The court held that Atlas’s conduct does not violate the FDCPA because filing a proof of claim in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy based on a debt that is time-barred does not violate the FDCPA when the statute of limitations does not extinguish the debt. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Dubois v. Atlas Acquisitions LLC" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against Lendmark under Maryland’s Credit Grantor Closed End Credit Provisions (CLEC), Md. Code Ann., Com. Law 12-1001 et seq., challenging the manner in which Lendmark charged and applied late fees towards her personal loan of roughly $2,600. The district court entered judgment for Lendmark. The court concluded that Lendmark was not entitled to charge a late fee in December 2010 or February 2011, or in any month in which plaintiff paid an installment timely and in full. Because the court held that the complaint alleging these facts states a plausible claim for relief, the court reversed the district court's dismissal of this claim and remanded for further proceedings. The court affirmed as to the remainder of plaintiff's claims. View "Williams v. Lendmark Fin. Serv." on Justia Law

Posted in: Consumer Law

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Plaintiffs, four Maryland consumers, filed suit against Santander and its agents, alleging that defendants violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), 15 U.S.C.1692-1692p, by engaging in prohibited collection practices when collecting on plaintiffs’ automobile loans. The court affirmed the district court's grant of Santander's motion to dismiss on the ground that the complaint did not allege facts showing that Santander qualified as a “debt collector” subject to the FDCPA. The court concluded that the FDCPA generally does not regulate creditors when they collect debt on their own account and that, on the facts alleged by plaintiffs, Santander became a creditor when it purchased the loans before engaging in the challenged practices. View "Henson v. Santander Consumer USA, Inc." on Justia Law

Posted in: Consumer Law

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Plaintiffs, four Maryland consumers, filed suit against Santander and its agents, alleging that defendants violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), 15 U.S.C.1692-1692p, by engaging in prohibited collection practices when collecting on plaintiffs’ automobile loans. The court affirmed the district court's grant of Santander's motion to dismiss on the ground that the complaint did not allege facts showing that Santander qualified as a “debt collector” subject to the FDCPA. The court concluded that the FDCPA generally does not regulate creditors when they collect debt on their own account and that, on the facts alleged by plaintiffs, Santander became a creditor when it purchased the loans before engaging in the challenged practices. View "Henson v. Santander Consumer USA, Inc." on Justia Law

Posted in: Consumer Law

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Plaintiff filed a putative class action against Delbert alleging that Delbert violated debt collection practices. The district court granted Delbert's motion to compel arbitration under the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA), 9 U.S.C. 4. The court concluded, however, that the arbitration agreement in this case is unenforceable where it purportedly fashions a system of alternative dispute resolution while simultaneously rendering that system all but impotent through a categorical rejection of the requirements of state and federal law. The court went on to conclude that the FAA does not protect the sort of arbitration agreement that unambiguously forbids an arbitrator from even applying the applicable law. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded for further proceedings. View "Hayes v. Delbert Services Corp." on Justia Law