Justia Consumer Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
Manuel v. Merchants and Professional Bureau, Inc.
Plaintiff filed suit against Merchant's surety, Travelers, alleging claims under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), alleging that 2017 collection letters were false or misleading and unfair or unconscionable for failing to disclose the time-barred nature of the debt. Plaintiff also alleged a claim under the Texas Debt Collection Act based on the same conduct.The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment to Merchants, but on alternative grounds. The court held that the letters seeking collection of time-barred debt, filled with ambiguous offers and threats with no indication that the debt is old, much less that the limitations period has run, misrepresent the legal enforceability of the underlying debt in violation of 15 U.S.C. 1692e(2) and (10). View "Manuel v. Merchants and Professional Bureau, Inc." on Justia Law
Salinas v. R.A. Rogers, Inc.
Plaintiff filed suit against a debt collection agency, alleging a violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). The district court held that the collections letter that was mailed to plaintiff accurately conveyed what was possible under Texas law—that interest could accrue—and was therefore not false, deceptive, or misleading.The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for the agency, holding that the agency's dunning letter was not false, misleading, or deceptive in violation of the FDCPA. The court held that the language at issue in this case expresses a common-sense truism about borrowing and lending, and does not imply that interest or other charges may actually accrue on the debtor's account. View "Salinas v. R.A. Rogers, Inc." on Justia Law
Casalicchio v. BOKF, N.A.
Plaintiff requested that the court set aside a foreclosure sale of his residence because his lender mailed him a preforeclosure notice with the wrong deadline for curing default. In this case, the letter contained a deadline thirty days from the day the notice was printed, even though the deed of trust called for a deadline thirty days from the day the letter was mailed.The Fifth Circuit held that the district court correctly applied Texas precedents and denied plaintiff relief, because the lender's "minor" non-compliance with the terms of the deed of trust did not justify unwinding the foreclosure sale. The court held that the error in the foreclosure notice did not clearly harm or prejudice plaintiff, where he does not dispute that, even if the notice had stated the correct deadline, he would not have had the funds to pay the past-due balance on his account. View "Casalicchio v. BOKF, N.A." on Justia Law
Germain v. US Bank National Association
Plaintiff appealed the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of defendants in an action alleging claims under the Real Estate Settlement Procedure Act (RESPA); the Texas Debt Collection Act (TDCJ); promissory estoppel; and the Declaratory Judgment Act. The Fifth Circuit held that plaintiff failed to raise a genuine issue of material fact regarding defendants' compliance with 12 C.F.R. 1024.41 and properly dismissed his RESPA claims. The court also held that the district court did not err in dismissing plaintiff's TDCA claims and, because plaintiff's remaining claims were based on the underlying RESPA and TDCA claims, they were moot. Accordingly, the court affirmed the dismissal of plaintiff's action with prejudice. View "Germain v. US Bank National Association" on Justia Law
Calderone v. Sonic Houston JLR
The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment against plaintiff in an action alleging that he was unlawfully terminated under the Consumer Financial Protection Act (CFPA), 12 U.S.C. 5567(a)(1). Plaintiff, a car salesman, alleged that Sonic would not extend credit to minorities. The court held that nothing in section 5519(a) precluded the Department of Labor, a separate federal entity, from enforcing the anti-retaliation provision against dealers even though the CFPB could not; the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA), 15 U.S.C. 1691, as applied to automobile dealers, was not a statute subject to the jurisdiction of the Bureau, and thus, as a matter of law, Sonic could not have violated section 5567(a); and a reasonable belief that discrimination was occurring under the ECOA could not extend the jurisdictional scope of the CFPA to include actors to which the statute did not apply. View "Calderone v. Sonic Houston JLR" on Justia Law
Mahmoud v. De Moss Owners Association, Inc.
Plaintiffs filed suit against the condo owners association after the foreclosure sale of their condo unit, alleging common law claims for breach of contract, wrongful foreclosure, negligent misrepresentation, and breach of fiduciary duty, as well as violations of the Federal Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), Texas Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (TFDCPA), and Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (TDTPA). The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment on all claims, holding that regardless whether the district court abused its discretion, any evidentiary error the district court made was harmless. In this case, the issue whether the late fee increase was properly adopted by the Association was not dispositive of any claims, so it did not affect the outcome of the litigation and did not affect their substantial rights. The court also held that plaintiffs' could not maintain their suit for breaches of the Condominium Declaration when they have themselves been in default of the contract; there was no authority supporting plaintiffs' conclusion that an inaccurate balance included in a default notice constitutes a defect in the foreclosure proceedings; and plaintiffs failed to cite specific negligent misrepresentations by defendants. The court rejected plaintiffs' remaining claims. View "Mahmoud v. De Moss Owners Association, Inc." on Justia Law
Sayles v. Advanced Recovery Systems, Inc.
The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment to plaintiff on grounds that ARS, a consumer debt-collection agency, violated section 807(8) of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), 15 U.S.C. 1692e(8). The court held that the district court did not violate Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(f) where the district court gave the parties adequate notice of, and a reasonable time to respond to, its intention to consider summary judgment; even assuming arguendo that the district court erred, the error was harmless; and ARS's failure to communicate to credit bureaus that plaintiff disputed his debts violated section 807(8) of the FDCPA. Finally, the district court did not err when it found that plaintiff satisfied the elements of Article III standing. View "Sayles v. Advanced Recovery Systems, Inc." on Justia Law