Justia Consumer Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals
Cabala v. Crowley
Plaintiff filed suit against defendant, an attorney, for an alleged violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), 15 U.S.C. 1692. At issue on appeal was whether a defendant remained liable for plaintiff's attorney's fees accrued after defendant offered a settlement that included the maximum available damages and, as mandated by statute, plaintiff's fees and costs, but that did not include an offer of judgment. The court concluded that because defendant's initial offer to settle did not include an offer of judgment, it did not fully resolve the dispute between the parties, and thus further litigation by plaintiff was not per se unreasonable; the district court did not abuse its discretion in awarding full attorney's fees to plaintiff; and, therefore, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Cabala v. Crowley" on Justia Law
Vincent v. The Money Store
Plaintiffs appealed from the district court's grant of defendants' motion for summary judgment on plaintiffs' Truth in Lending Act (TILA), 15 U.S.C. 1601 et seq., claims and denial of plaintiffs' motion for reconsideration of an earlier dismissal of their Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), 15 U.S.C. 1692 et seq., claims against The Money Store. The court held that the district court erred in concluding that The Money Store was not a "debt collector" under the false name exception to FDCPA liability. Where a creditor, in the process of collecting its own debts, hires a third party for the express purpose of representing to its debtors that the third party is collecting the creditor's debts, and the third party engages in no bona fide efforts to collect those debts, the false name exception exposes the creditor to FDCPA liability. In regards to the TILA claims, the court concluded that the district court correctly determined that, because plaintiffs' mortgage documents did not name The Money Store as the person to whom the debt was initially payable, The Money Store was not a "creditor" under TILA and was therefore not subject to liability. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part, vacated in part, and remanded for further proceedings. View "Vincent v. The Money Store" on Justia Law
Doyle v. Midland Credit Management, Inc.
Plaintiff sued Midland, a debt collector, for damages after Midland called him between 22 and 28 times over the course of 2011 when none of the calls were intended for plaintiff. On appeal, plaintiff contended that neither of two putative offers of judgment extended by Midland could have rendered his action moot because neither offer complied with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 68. The court held that an offer need not comply with Rule 68 in order to render a case moot under Article III. Consequently, the court agreed with the district court that plaintiff's refusal to settle the case in return for Midland's offer, notwithstanding plaintiff's acknowledgement that he could win no more, was sufficient ground to dismiss the case for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. View "Doyle v. Midland Credit Management, Inc." on Justia Law
Hooks v. Forman, Holt, Eliades & Ravin, LLC
Plaintiffs brought suit against Forman Holt, a debt collector within the meaning of 15 U.S.C. 1692a(6), alleging a violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), 15 U.S.C. 1692g. Plaintiffs alleged that Forman Holt's collection notice violated the FDCPA by stating that plaintiffs could only dispute the validity of a debt in writing. The district court granted Forman Holt's motion to dismiss, concluding that plaintiffs had failed to state a claim. The court vacated and remanded, concluding that section 1692g(a)(3) did not impose a writing requirement that required the consumer debtor to notify the debt collector in writing in order to dispute the validity of the debt. View "Hooks v. Forman, Holt, Eliades & Ravin, LLC" on Justia Law
Fink v. Time Warner Cable
Plaintiffs appealed from the district court's dismissal of their Second Amended Class Action Complaint pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6). Plaintiffs challenged the veracity of certain advertisements in which Time Warner allegedly described its Road Runner Internet service. Plaintiffs asserted that Time Warner's allegedly deceptive advertisements violated New York General Business Law 349 and various California consumer protection statutes, and gave rise to claims for common law fraud, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, and unjust enrichment. The court concluded that the allegations of the Complaint were materially inconsistent with the sole advertisement plaintiffs have submitted. Therefore, the court concluded that plaintiffs' claims lacked the facial plausibility necessary to survive a motion to dismiss. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Fink v. Time Warner Cable" on Justia Law
Caronia v. Philip Morris USA
Plaintiffs appealed from the district court's dismissal of their claims in connection with the design, manufacture, and sale by Philip Morris of cigarettes that allegedly contained unnecessarily dangerous levels of carcinogens when smoked by humans, and plaintiffs' independent equitable claim seeking to require Philip Morris to fund a program of medical monitoring for longtime smokers of Marlboro cigarettes who have not been diagnosed with, but were at risk for, lung cancer. The court concluded that the district court properly dismissed plaintiffs' claims for negligence and strict products liability as time barred by the applicable statute of limitations. Further, the implied warranty of merchantability was not breached if the cigarettes were minimally safe when used in the customary, usual, and reasonably foreseeable manner and, therefore, summary judgment dismissing these claims was appropriate. With respect to the claim seeking medical monitoring, the court certified a question of law to the New York Court of Appeals. View "Caronia v. Philip Morris USA" on Justia Law
Johnson v. Priceline.com, Inc.
Plaintiffs initiated this putative class action against Priceline, seeking compensatory, punitive, and equitable relief for alleged breaches of fiduciary duty and contract, as well as a violation of Connecticut's Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUTPA), Conn. Gen. Stat. 42-110b. Plaintiffs' claims arose from Priceline's alleged failure to disclose to users of its "Name Your Own Price" booking service that a successful bid for a hotel room would generally exceed the amount Priceline itself compensated the hotel vendor, with Priceline retaining the difference as profit. Because plaintiffs failed as a matter of law to allege an agency relationship between Priceline and consumers who use its "Name Your Own Price" service to reserve hotel accommodations, they could not plausibly claim that Priceline breached an agent's fiduciary duty in failing to apprise consumers that it might have procured the accommodations at costs lower than their bids, retaining the difference as profits. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's dismissal of plaintiffs' claims. View "Johnson v. Priceline.com, Inc." on Justia Law
Cruz v. TD Bank, N.A.
These appeals, heard in tandem, challenged two separate judgments entered in the district court in favor of TD Bank and Capital One, respectively, dismissing plaintiffs' claims that the banks violated Article 52 of the New York Civil Practice Law and Rules (CPLR), as amended by the Exempt Income Protection Act (EIPA), 2008 N.Y. Laws Ch. 575. Plaintiffs, as judgment debtors, alleged that the banks failed to provide them with certain required notices and forms, restrained their accounts, and assessed them fees, all in violation of the EIPA. Because these appeals presented unresolved questions of law, the court reserved decision and certified the issues to the New York State Court of Appeals. View "Cruz v. TD Bank, N.A." on Justia Law
Longman v. Wachovia Bank NA
Plaintiff filed claims against Wachovia for willful noncompliance with certain provisions of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 U.S.C. 1681s-2(a) and for common law defamation. The court held that the district court correctly concluded that there was no private cause of action for violations of section 1681s-2(a). Because the complaint only alleged violations of 1681s-2(a)(1), (2), and (8), the district court properly granted summary judgment on plaintiff's claims under the Act. The court also held that the district court did not abuse its discretion by denying leave to amend in regards to plaintiff's failure to state a claim under section 1681s-2(b) in light of plaintiff's delay and the prejudice to Wachovia. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "Longman v. Wachovia Bank NA" on Justia Law
In re Air Cargo Shipping Services Antitrust Litigation
Plaintiffs brought suit against numerous foreign airlines alleging a conspiracy to fix prices in violation of state antitrust, consumer protection, and unfair competition laws. The district court dismissed those claims as expressly preempted by federal law. The Federal Aviation Act, 49 U.S.C. 41713(b)(1), preempted state-law claims "related to a price, route, or service of an air carrier." The court concluded that "air carrier" in that provision applied to foreign air carriers and therefore, affirmed the judgment. View "In re Air Cargo Shipping Services Antitrust Litigation" on Justia Law