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The Supreme Court vacated the order of the circuit court denying a motion to compel arbitration, holding that the court's order did not contain sufficient findings of fact and conclusions of law for the Supreme Court to conduct a proper review. Plaintiff sued Defendant for invasion of privacy and alleging that they violated the West Virginia Consumer Credit and Protection Act, W.Va. Code 46A-1-101 to -8-102. Defendants moved to compel arbitration. The circuit court denied the motion to compel arbitration, apparently determining that no arbitration agreement was formed and, simultaneously, that the arbitration agreement was unconscionable and should not be enforced. The Supreme Court vacated the circuit court's order, holding that the case must be remanded to the circuit court for further proceedings, including the determination of whether any arbitration agreement existed between the parties and, if so, whether that agreement was unconscionable. View "Certegy Check Services v. Fuller" on Justia Law

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Jessie and Rickey Castleberry appealed a circuit court order dismissing their claims against Angie's List, Inc., based on a forum-selection clause in a contract between Angie's List and the Castleberrys. The Castleberrys, who are father and son, became members of Angie's List in 2014. They claim that they used their membership with Angie's List to locate a contractor, Dream Baths of Alabama, LLC ("Dream Baths"), which the Castleberrys hired to renovate a bathroom in Jessie Castleberry's house to make it handicapped accessible. According to the Castleberrys, Dream Baths was not properly licensed and poorly performed the work it contracted to do. The Alabama Supreme Court found the Castleberrys simply pointed out in the argument section of their brief that, in addition to suing Angie's List, they also sued Dream Baths. They asserted that "[t]his action pertains not only to the agreement between the Castleberrys and Angie's List, but to improper work performed upon a home located in Montgomery County, Alabama by defendant Dream Baths." The Castleberrys provided no significant discussion of the specific claims against Dream Baths and Angie's List. To the Supreme Court, it appealred that the Castleberrys' claims against Angie's List and Dream Baths were based on different categories of wrongdoing that were only tangentially related. The trial court, therefore, did not err in enforcing the forum-selection clause simply because the Castleberrys also sued Dream Baths. View "Castleberry v. Angie's List, Inc." on Justia Law

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Paz defaulted on a $695 credit card debt. PRA, a debt collector, purchased the debt and attempted to collect but violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act by failing to report that Paz disputed the debt. Paz filed suit in June 2014. PRA invoked FRCP 68, offering to eliminate the debt and pay Paz $1,001 plus reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs as “agreed ... and if no agreement can be made, to be determined by the Court.” The agreement stated that “[t]his … is not to be construed as an admission that ... Plaintiff has suffered any damage.” Paz accepted PRA’s offer. Counsel agreed to attorneys’ fees of $4,500. PRA nonetheless continued to report Paz’s debt to credit reporting agencies, even confirming its validity in response to inquiries. Paz filed another lawsuit and unsuccessfully attempted to add class claims. PRA again invoked Rule 68, offering $3,501 on the same terms as the first settlement. Paz never responded. The court limited the claims allowed to go to trial. Days before trial, PRA offered Paz $25,000 plus attorneys’ fees and costs. Paz rejected the offer. A jury found for Paz but determined that Paz had sustained no actual damages, so his recovery was limited to $1,000 in statutory damages for his FDCPA claim. Paz sought $187,410 in attorneys’ fees and $2,744 in costs, 15 U.S.C. 1692(k)(a)(3). The Seventh Circuit affirmed an award of $10,875, reasoning that Paz’s rejection of meaningful settlement offers precluded a fee award so disproportionate to his recovery. View "Paz v. Portfolio Recovery Associates, LLC" on Justia Law

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After plaintiff was denied housing due to disclosures appearing in a tenant screening report, he filed suit against TSP, alleging violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), California's Investigative Consumer Reporting Agencies Act (ICRAA), and California's Unfair Competition Law (UCL). The district court dismissed all but one cause of action and granted summary judgment on the remaining FCRA claim. The panel held that the district court erred by concluding that the ICRAA is unconstitutionally vague as applied to tenant screening applications; the panel was bound by the holding in Connor v. First Student, Inc., 423 P.3d 953 (Cal. 2018), that the ICRAA overlaps with the Consumer Credit Reporting Agencies Act, which forecloses TSP's argument that the statutory scheme in unconstitutionally vague; and thus the panel reversed and remanded for further proceedings. The panel remanded for the district court to decide whether plaintiff stated a UCL claim predicated on TSP's ICRAA violations. Finally, the panel held that the FCRA permits consumer reporting of a criminal charge for only seven years following the date of entry of the charge. In this case, the report's inclusion of a 2000 charge fell outside of the permissible seven year window. Therefore, plaintiff stated sufficient claims under the FCRA. View "Moran v. The Screening Pros, LLC" on Justia Law

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In two unrelated transactions, Front Line Motor Cars (Dealer), a used car dealer licensed by the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), repossessed cars after the buyers failed to obtain financing. Dealer then refused to return the buyers’ down payments. The buyers complained to DMV. DMV instructed Dealer to refund the buyers’ down payments. Dealer refused, asserting its actions were proper under the Rees-Levering Motor Vehicles Sales and Finance Act and that DMV lacked the power to sanction Dealer. DMV then brought a disciplinary action against Dealer. DMV accused Dealer of violating Civil Code sections 2982.5, 2982.7, and 2982.9, which were the only sections of the Act which required a seller to refund a buyer’s down payment upon the buyer’s failure to obtain financing. After an administrative hearing, DMV adopted the administrative law judge’s proposed order that Dealer’s license be conditionally revoked for two years due to Dealer’s violation of the Act. Dealer petitioned the superior court for a writ of administrative mandate, which the superior court denied. On appeal Dealer repeated its earlier arguments. The Court of Appeal affirmed, finding the unique facts in this case (which revealed Dealer lacked a good faith intent to enter into bona fide credit sales with the buyers), revealed the transactions involved seller-assisted loans subject to section 2982.5 of the Act, which expressly required Dealer to return the buyers’ down payments. View "Front Line Motor Cars v. Webb" on Justia Law

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A Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) violation "occurs," for the purposes of the FDCPA's one‐year statute of limitations, when an individual is injured by the alleged unlawful conduct. The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for defendants on plaintiff's FDCPA claim. The court held that plaintiff's claim was time-barred because plaintiff filed suit one year and one day after Citibank froze his accounts. Furthermore, even if the discovery rule applied to FDCPA claims as a general matter, plaintiff's claim was still time-barred. Finally, plaintiff was not entitled to equitable tolling because he did not diligently pursue his rights. View "Benzemann v. Houslanger & Associates, PLLC" on Justia Law

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The district court found that Spectrum violated the Consumer Product Safety Act, 15 U.S.C. 2064(b)(3), when its subsidiary failed to timely report to the government a potentially hazardous defect in its Black & Decker SpaceMaker coffeemaker. In 2009, there were multiple complaints that the plastic handle on the coffeemaker’s carafe had broken. In one instance, the handle's failure caused a consumer to suffer a burn from the hot coffee in the carafe. Spectrum ordered design changes, but continued to sell the product and did not file a section 15(b) report with the Commission until April 2012. The court entered a permanent injunction, requiring Spectrum to adhere to its newly-implemented CPSA compliance practices and to retain an independent consultant to recommend additional modifications to those practices. The Seventh Circuit affirmed, rejecting Spectrum’s argument that the late-reporting claim was barred by the statute of limitations and that the court abused its discretion in awarding permanent injunctive relief, including the requirement that it engage the expert. Spectrum’s failure to report constituted a continuing violation that did not end until Spectrum finally submitted a report; the statute of limitations did not begin to run until 2012. Given the gravity of its failures and the delay in compliance, the district court justifiably concluded that there was a reasonable likelihood that Spectrum might again commit similar violations in the future. View "United States v. Spectrum Brands, Inc." on Justia Law

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In October of 2007, Petitioner Otha Delaney bought a 2003 Chevrolet pick-up truck from Coliseum Motors pursuant to a retail installment sales contract. The dealership subsequently assigned the contract to Respondent First Financial of Charleston, Inc., which acquired a security interest under the UCC. After Delaney failed to make payments, First Financial lawfully repossessed the truck, and on May 2, 2008, it sent Delaney a letter entitled, "Notice of Private Sale of Collateral." Over seven months later, on December 15, 2008, First Financial sold the truck. On October 3, 2011, more than three years after sending notice but less than three years from the sale of the truck, Delaney filed suit against First Financial, seeking to represent a class of individuals who had received notice that allegedly failed to comply with certain requirements in Article 9. After a hearing, the trial court found: (1) the remedy Delaney sought pursuant to section 36-9-625(c)(2) South Carolina Code (2003) was a statutory penalty; (2) the six-year Article 2 limitations period did not apply because Delaney failed to plead breach of contract, the claim solely concerned deficient notice under Article 9, and even if Article 2 applied, the more specific limitations period on penalties governed; and (3) under either limitation period, Delaney's claim was time-barred as his action accrued upon receipt of the allegedly deficient notice. To this last point, the South Carolina Supreme Court determined the trial court erred, holding the notice of disposition of collateral did not accrue until First Financial disposed of the collateral. Accordingly, because Delaney filed this action within three years from that date, the matter was remanded for further proceedings. View "Delaney v. First Financial" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's order granting the Board's petition to enforce the law firm's compliance with the Board's civil investigative demand (CID) to respond to interrogatories and requests for documents. The panel held that the Board's structure was constitutionally permissible in light of Humphrey's Executor v. United States, 295 U.S. 602 (1935), and Morrison v. Olson, 487 U.S. 654 (1988). These cases indicate that the for-cause removal restriction protecting the Board's Director did not impede the President's ability to perform his constitutional duty to ensure that the laws are faithfully executed. The panel rejected the law firm's contention that the CID violated the Board's practice-of-law exclusion and held that one of the exceptions to the practice-of-law exclusion applied: 12 U.S.C. 5517(e)(3). Section 5517(e)(3) empowered the Board to investigate whether the law firm was violating the Telemarketing Sales Rule. Finally, the panel held that the CID complied with section 5562(c)(2). View "Consumer Financial Protection Bureau v. Seila Law LLC" on Justia Law

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A consumer paying by check usually provides identification such as a driver’s license. The merchant often takes the bank account number and the driver’s license number and sends them to companies like TeleCheck. TeleCheck runs these identifiers through its system and may recommend that the merchant refuse the check. When a customer presents two identifiers, TeleCheck records a link between them in its system. If, in a later transaction, a customer uses only one of those identifiers, TeleCheck recommends a decline if there is a debt associated with the presented identifier or the linked identifier. Huff requested a copy of his TeleCheck file (Fair Credit Reporting Act. 15 U.S.C. 1681g(a)(1)), providing only his driver’s license. The report contained only the 23 transactions in which he presented his license during the past year but stated that: “Your record is linked to information not included in this report, subject to identity verification prior to disclosure. Please contact TeleCheck.” Huff did not call. Huff’s driver’s license actually links to six different bank accounts. In addition to omitting the linked accounts, the report did not reveal checks from those accounts that were not presented with Huff’s license. TeleCheck has never told a merchant to decline one of Huff’s checks. Huff filed suit and moved for class certification. The Sixth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of the case because Huff lacked standing for failure to show that the incomplete report injured him in any way. View "Huff v. TeleCheck Services., Inc." on Justia Law