Justia Consumer Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals
Epps v. JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A.
Plaintiff appealed the district court's judgment granting Chase's motion to dismiss her putative class action claim brought pursuant to the Maryland Credit Grantor Closed End Credit Provisions (CLEC), Md. Code Ann., Com. Law 12-1001 et seq. The district court concluded that federal regulations preempted relevant portions of the CLEC and that the retail sales installment contract signed by plaintiff and Chase's predecessor in interest did not mandate that Chase comply with the CLEC. The court held that the district court erred in concluding that the CLEC was preempted by the National Bank Act (NBA), 12 U.S.C. 1 et seq., or the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) regulations. The court also held that the district court erred in dismissing plaintiff's breach of contract claim and remanded for further proceedings. View "Epps v. JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A." on Justia Law
Maracich v. Spear
This appeal arose from the dismissal of all claims alleged in a putative class action complaint filed pursuant to the Driver's Privacy Protection Act of 1994 (DPPA), 18 U.S.C. 2721-2725. Appellees (Lawyers) were South Carolina attorneys who in 2006 and 2007 instituted several "group action" lawsuits in South Carolina state court against numerous car dealerships under the South Carolina Regulation of Manufacturers, Distributors, and Dealers Act (Dealers Act), S.C. Code Ann. 56-15-10 et seq. Appellants (Buyers) were car buyers who received mailings from Lawyers regarding the Dealers Act litigation. Buyers sued Lawyers in this action alleging that Lawyers violated the DPPA when they obtained and used Buyers' personal information without their consent in connection with the Dealers Act litigation. The court held that the district court erred in its determination that the conduct of Lawyers did not constitute solicitation within the contemplation of the applicable DPPA prohibition. Nevertheless, the district court correctly ruled that Lawyers' conduct in respect to Buyers' personal information was undertaken in anticipation and in connection with litigation, a use permitted by the DPPA. View "Maracich v. Spear" on Justia Law
Walker v. Medtronic, Inc.
Plaintiff appealed from the district court's holding that her common law tort claims against Medtronic were preempted by the Medical Device Amendments of 1976 (MDA), as interpreted by Riegel v. Medtronic. On appeal, plaintiff argued that because the device in question allegedly failed to operate in accordance with the terms of its premarket approval, her claims paralleled federal requirements and therefore should avoid preemption. Because the medical pump at issue was undisputedly designed, manufactured, and distributed in compliance with its FDA premarket approval, and plaintiff's common law claims exceeded or differed from, rather than paralleled, federal requirements, the court held that each of her specific claims for negligence, strict liability, and breach of warranty were preempted. View "Walker v. Medtronic, Inc." on Justia Law
Warren v. Sessoms & Rogers, P.A.
Plaintiff sued defendants, a law firm and its attorney, alleging that they violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), 15 U.S.c. 1692 et seq. At issue was whether defendants' Rule 68 offer of judgment mooted plaintiff's case. Also at issue was whether the district court properly dismissed plaintiff's complaint pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6). The court held that defendants' first offer, a payment of $250 in actual damages, and defendants' second offer, conditioning the amount of actual damages on the district court's determination, did not moot plaintiff's case. The court also held that the district court erred in concluding that plaintiff's amended complaint failed to allege violations of 15 U.S.C. 1692c(a)(2), and 1692e(11). Therefore, the court reversed the judgment of the district court and remanded for further proceedings. View "Warren v. Sessoms & Rogers, P.A." on Justia Law
Watkins v. Sun Trust Mortgage Inc.
Plaintiff commenced an action under the Truth in Lending Act (TILA), 15 U.S.C. 1601 et seq., seeking a declaratory judgment that he was entitled to rescind a financing transaction and an award of statutory damages. At issue was whether a lender violated TILA in providing a notice to a borrower who was refinancing his mortgage of the right to rescind the transaction, using a form of notice substantially similar to Model Form H-8 in the Appendix to Regulation Z, 12 C.F.R. pt. 226, rather than using Model Form H-9, which was designed for refinancing transactions. The court agreed with the district court and affirmed the dismissal of the complaint for failure to state a claim where Model Form H-8 included all of the information required by TILA and Regulation Z to advise borrowers of the right to rescind a consumer credit transaction, including a financing transaction. View "Watkins v. Sun Trust Mortgage Inc." on Justia Law
Tang, et al. v. Synutra Int’l, Inc., et al.
Plaintiffs, citizens and residents of China, alleged that they were injured by melamine-contaminated infant formula in China. Defendant, among others, manufactured and distributed the contaminated products exclusively to China. At issue was the district court's forum non conveniens dismissal. The court held that defendant carried its burden and showed that plaintiffs could obtain a remedy for their injuries either from the Chinese courts or a fund established by the Chinese government to compensate the children and families affected by contaminated infant formula (the Fund). Therefore, the district court did not abuse its discretion in finding that China was an adequate alternative forum and the district court did not err by weighing the public and private interest factors, finding that China was a more convenient forum in which to adjudicate the dispute. Accordingly, the district court's forum non conveniens dismissal was not an abuse of discretion.
State of West Virginia ex rel. v. CVS Pharmacy, Inc.
The State sued CVS Pharmacy, Inc. and five other pharmacies (collectively, "pharmacies") in state court alleging that they sold generic drugs to West Virginia consumers without passing along to the consumers the cost savings of generic drugs over brand name equivalents in violation of West Virginia Code 30-5-12b(g), which regulated the practice of pharmacy, and the West Virgina Consumer Credit Protection Act, West Virginia Code 46A-6-104. At issue was whether the district court properly ordered the case to be remanded to state court after the pharmacies removed the case from state court to the district court under the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 ("CAFA"), Pub. L. No. 109-2 Stat. 4. The court affirmed and held that the action was not a class action as defined by the CAFA where the action was not brought under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23 or West Virginia's corresponding rule but, rather, the action was brought under the West Virginia statute regulating the practice of pharmacy and the West Virgina Consumer Credit Protection Act, neither of which included provisions providing for a typical class action.
PBM Products, LLC v. Mead Johnson & Company
PBM Products, LLC ("PBM") sued Mead Johnson & Company, LLC ("Mead Johnson") under the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. 1125(a), alleging that Mead Johnson distributed direct-to-consumer mailers that falsely claimed PBM's baby formula products were inferior to Mead Johnson's baby formula products. At issue was whether the district court erred in its dismissal of Mead Johnson's counterclaims; whether the district court abused its discretion in its admission of expert opinion testimony and evidence of prior litigation between the parties; and whether the district court erred or abused its discretion in issuing an injunction prohibiting Mead Johnson from making similar claims. The court held that the district court properly dismissed Mead Johnson's counterclaims based on statute of limitations, laches, and deficiencies in the merits. The court also held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in admitting PBM's consumer experts' testimony regarding surveys conducted when they were sufficiently close in approximation of the recipient pool to be admissible. The court further held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in admitting evidence of prior litigation where the evidence was relevant to the instant case and its probative value outweighed any danger of unfair prejudice. The court finally held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in issuing the injunction where the misleading information pertained to public health and infant well-being and that the injunction was not overbroad in scope where it only reached the specific claims that were found to be literally false.