Justia Consumer Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
by
Plaintiff filed a class action under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, alleging that DIRECTV and the company it contracted with to provide telemarketing services, Telecel, failed to maintain the do-not-call list and continued to call individuals who asked not to be contacted. The Eleventh Circuit vacated the district court's certification order, holding that the unnamed members of the putative class who did not ask DIRECTV to stop calling them were not injured by the failure to comply with the regulation. Therefore, their injuries were not fairly traceable to DIRECTV's alleged wrongful conduct, and thus they lacked Article III standing to sue DIRECTV. The court also held that, although the case was justiciable because the named plaintiff had standing, the district court abused its discretion in certifying the class as it is currently defined. In this case, determining whether each class member asked Telecel to stop calling requires an individualized inquiry, and the district court did not consider this problem at all when it determined that issues common to the class predominated over issues individual to each class member. Accordingly, the court remanded for further proceedings. View "Cordoba v. DIRECTV, LLC" on Justia Law

by
Plaintiff filed suit against the Bank, asserting claims under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). The district court dismissed the complaint for failure to state a claim. Determining that plaintiff had Article III standing, the Eleventh Circuit held that plaintiff has stated three plausible claims for relief under the FCRA, where he alleged that the Bank willfully violated the FCRA by failing to investigate his dispute and unlawfully obtained his credit report. Accordingly, the court reversed in part and remanded for further proceedings. However, plaintiff did not plausibly state a claim under the FDCPA, because the least sophisticated consumer would not believe that Chase Home Finance was a third-party debt collector distinct from the Bank. Therefore, the court affirmed the district court's dismissal of the FDCPA claim. View "Pinson v. JPMorgan Chase Bank, NA" on Justia Law

by
Plaintiffs, a class of borrowers, filed suit in Georgia against their lenders, alleging that their loan agreements violated state usury laws. After removal to federal court, the district court concluded that the forum selection clause and class action waiver were unenforceable based on Georgia public policy. The Eleventh Circuit affirmed, holding that Georgia's Payday Lending Act and Industrial Loan Act articulate a clear public policy against enforcing forum selection clauses in payday loan agreements and in favor of preserving class actions as a remedy for those aggrieved by predatory lenders. View "Davis v. Oasis Legal Finance Operating Co." on Justia Law

by
Receiving a single unsolicited text message, sent in violation of a federal statute, is not a concrete injury in fact that establishes standing to sue in federal court. Plaintiff filed suit against defendant, alleging violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA) after he received unsolicited text messages from defendant's law firm. The court found that the history and the judgment of Congress did not support a finding of concrete injury in plaintiff's allegations. In this case, plaintiff's allegations of a brief, inconsequential annoyance were categorically distinct from those kinds of real but intangible harms. The court noted that its assessment was qualitative, not quantitative. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded with instructions to dismiss without prejudice the amended complaint. View "Salcedo v. Hanna" on Justia Law

by
The Eleventh Circuit sua sponte vacated its previous opinion and publish this opinion in its place. This appeal involved the approval of a class action settlement against Godiva for violating the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA) by printing more digits of his credit card number than the Act allowed. Objectors challenged the class settlement reached by plaintiff and Godiva, but the district court approved the settlement, class counsel's request for attorney's fees, and an incentive award for plaintiff. The court affirmed. The court held that Congress judged the risk of identity theft plaintiff suffered to be sufficiently concrete to confer standing, and the risk of identity theft bears a close enough relationship to the common law tort of breach of confidence to make plaintiff's injury concrete. In this case, plaintiff alleged he suffered a heightened risk of identity theft as a result of a FACTA violation and his allegation was sufficient under Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, 578 U.S. ___, 136 S. Ct. 1540 (2016). The court declined to follow the Third Circuit's rule that actual identity theft was required to bring a FACTA claim. Rather, the court held that Congress conferred the procedural right in FACTA to reduce the risk of identity theft. View "Muransky v. Godiva Chocolatier, Inc." on Justia Law

by
Plaintiff appealed the district court's dismissal of his claim under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act, arising from an attempt by defendants to collect on plaintiff's time-barred consumer debt. The Eleventh Circuit reversed the district court's dismissal of the FDCPA claim and held that the collection letter plaintiff received plausibly could be misleading or deceptive to the "least sophisticated consumer" in violation of 15 U.S.C. 1692e. Although the court found that plaintiff stated a plausible claim, the court held that attempting to collect on time-barred debt was not a per se unfair or unconscionable practice that automatically violates section 1692f of the FDCPA. Finally, the court reinstated plaintiff's state claim and remanded for further proceedings. View "Holzman v. Malcolm S. Gerald & Associates, Inc." on Justia Law

by
Plaintiffs filed suit against defendant, alleging violation of the Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), violation of the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act, and breach of contract. This action arose when defendant incorrectly confirmed to credit reporting agencies that plaintiffs had a balloon payment pending, and then charged plaintiffs for lender-placed insurance on the property that plaintiffs had turned over to defendant years earlier and no longer owed. The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's finding of a willful FCRA violation, but reversed the denial of emotional distress and punitive damages because genuine issues of material fact exist concerning these claims; reversed the grant of summary judgment for defendant on the state claim, because genuine issues of material fact exist concerning where defendant made debt collection calls to plaintiff in the fall of 2013, whether defendant maintained procedures reasonably adapted to avoid violations of the Florida Consumer Collections Practices Act that would entitle defendant to the bona fide error defense, and whether defendant's vendor was acting as defendant's agent when it sent lender-placed insurance letters to plaintiffs; reversed the grant of summary judgment for defendants on the breach of contract claims, because genuine issues of material fact exist as to whether defendant breached the settlement agreement and whether plaintiffs have proved damages; vacated the award of attorney's fees to plaintiffs so that the district court can recalculate those fees at the conclusion of the litigation; and remanded for further proceedings. View "Marchisio v. Carrington Mortgage Services, LLC." on Justia Law

by
Where a roofing shingle manufacturer displays on the exterior wrapping of every package of shingles the entirety of its product-purchase agreement—including, as particularly relevant here, a mandatory-arbitration provision— homeowners whose roofers ordered, opened, and installed the shingles are bound by the agreement's terms. The Eleventh Circuit held that the manufacturer's packaging in this case sufficed to convey a valid offer of contract terms, that unwrapping and retaining the shingles was an objectively reasonable means of accepting that offer, and that the homeowners' grant of express authority to their roofers to buy and install shingles necessarily included the act of accepting purchase terms on the homeowners' behalf. Therefore, the court affirmed the district court's decision to grant the manufacturer's motion to compel arbitration and to dismiss the homeowners' complaint. View "Dye v. Tamko Building Products, Inc." on Justia Law

by
Objectors challenged a class action settlement between plaintiff and Godiva for claims under the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA). Over the objections, the district court approved the settlement, class counsel's request for attorney's fees, and an incentive award for plaintiff. The Eleventh Circuit held that class members who objected to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(b)(3) class settlements but did not opt out were "parties" for purposes of appeal. Determining that Article III standing requirements were satisfied, the court held on the merits that the district court did not abuse its discretion by awarding attorney's fees despite a Rule 23(h) violation; the district court properly assessed the risks faced by the class and the compensation secured by class counsel, and did not abuse its discretion by awarding an above-benchmark percentage of the common fund; and the district court did not abuse its discretion by granting a $10,000 incentive award to plaintiff as class representative. View "Muransky v. Godiva Chocolatier, Inc." on Justia Law

by
The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for Via Varejo in an action brought by Direct Niche under the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA), seeking to obtain a declaratory judgment that its registration and use of the domain name casasbahia.com was not unlawful under the ACPA. At issue on appeal was whether Via Varejo owned the Casas Bahia service mark in the United States. The court held that Via Varejo owns the Casas Bahia service mark in the United States where it contracted with U.S. companies to provide advertising of their goods on the Casas Bahia website. Furthermore, Via Varejo's marketing director testified to his personal knowledge that the Casas Bahia Website receives millions of visits every year from IP addresses located in the United States. Therefore, the district court's conclusion that the evidence demonstrated sufficient public use in commerce to establish ownership of the mark was not clearly erroneous. View "Direct Niche, LLC v. Via Varejo S/A" on Justia Law