Justia Consumer Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
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A consumer suffers a concrete injury in fact when a third-party obtains her credit report for a purpose not authorized by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA); a consumer-plaintiff need allege only that her credit report was obtained for a purpose not authorized by the statute to survive a motion to dismiss; and the defendant has the burden of pleading it obtained the report for an authorized purpose. The Ninth Circuit reversed the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's claim under the FCRA for lack of standing and failure to state a claim. The panel held that plaintiff pleaded facts sufficient to give rise to a reasonable inference that the Bank obtained her credit report for an unauthorized purpose. In this case, she pleaded that she did not have a credit relationship with the Bank of the kind specified in 15 U.S.C. 1681b(a)(3)(A)–(F), the Bank submitted numerous credit report inquires to Experian, and plaintiff put forth factual assertions which negative each permissible purpose for which Capital One could have obtained her credit report and for which she could possibly have personal knowledge. View "Nayab v. Capital One Bank" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit filed an order amending its prior opinion, denying panel rehearing, and denying, on behalf of the court, rehearing en banc; and an amended opinion and dissent. The panel reversed the district court's judgment for plaintiffs in an action brought under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), alleging that Fannie Mae falsely communicated to potential mortgage lenders, via its proprietary software, called Desktop Underwriter, that plaintiffs had a prior foreclosure on a mortgage account. The panel held that Fannie Mae is not a consumer reporting agency because, even if it assembles or evaluates consumer information through Desktop Underwriter, it does not do so for the purpose of furnishing consumer reports to third parties. Therefore, the panel held that the district court erred by granting plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment and denying Fannie Mae's cross-motion on this issue. The court also vacated the award of attorney's fees and costs to plaintiffs. View "Zabriskie v. Federal National Mortgage Association" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for Chase in an action brought by plaintiff, alleging claims under the Truth in Lending Act (TILA). In a prior appeal, the panel held that plaintiff gave proper, timely notice of rescission and vacated the district court's judgment, remanding for further proceedings. On remand. the district court granted summary judgment on a different ground, holding that plaintiff had no right of rescission. The panel held that the district court properly considered defendants' new argument on remand and properly granted summary judgment, because plaintiff obtained the mortgage in order to reacquire a residential property in which his prior ownership interest had been extinguished. Therefore, the right of rescission did not apply. View "Barnes v. Chase Home Finance, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit reversed the district court's denial of class certification in an action brought by plaintiff against Nissan, under state and federal warranty laws, arising from an allegedly faulty hydraulic clutch system in plaintiff's 2012 Nissan vehicle. The panel held that, following Comcast Corp. v. Behrend, 569 U.S. 27 (2013), plaintiff's theory of liability—that Nissan's manufacture and concealment of a defective clutch system injured class members at the time of sale—is consistent with his proposed recovery based on the benefit of the bargain. Therefore, the district court abused its discretion when it denied class certification based on a misconception of plaintiff's legal theory. Accordingly, the panel remanded for further proceedings. View "Huu Nguyen v. Nissan North America, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for Experian in an action brought by plaintiff under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, alleging claims that arose out of a series of letters a credit repair organization sent to Experian on plaintiff's behalf. The panel held that 15 U.S.C. 1681i requires consumer reporting agencies to reinvestigate disputed items in a consumer's credit file if the consumer notifies the agency of the dispute "directly." In this case, plaintiff played no part in drafting, finalizing, or sending the letters Go Clean Credit sent to Experian on his behalf, and thus those letters did not come directly from him. Therefore, Experian was not required to initiate a reinvestigation. View "Warner v. Experian Information Solutions, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of defendant's motion to compel arbitration and motion for a mandatory stay in a putative class action alleging that defendant charged excessive prices for its rent-to-own plans for household items. The panel held that the Federal Arbitration Act did not preempt California's rule in McGill v. Citibank, N.A., 393 P.3d 85 (Cal. 2017), in which the California Supreme Court decided that a contractual agreement purporting to waive a party's right to seek public injunctive relief in any forum is unenforceable under California law. The panel also held that the severance clause in the 2015 agreement at issue, triggered by the McGill rule, instructed the panel to sever plaintiff's Karnette Rental-Purchase Act, Unfair Competition Law, and Consumer Legal Remedies Act claims from the scope of arbitration. Finally, the panel dismissed for lack of jurisdiction defendant's appeal of the district court's denial of a discretionary stay and its decision to defer ruling on a motion to strike class action claims. View "Blair v. Rent-A-Center, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment to defendants in a putative class action against American Honda Finance and other dealerships. Plaintiff alleged that defendants failed to provide add-ons that were promised in the Dealer Addendum when plaintiff bought his new Honda. The panel affirmed and held that the district court did not have subject matter jurisdiction over this action at the time of removal because the Class Action Fairness Act's home state exception barred the exercise of jurisdiction. However, the panel held that the district court had subject matter jurisdiction at the time it rendered a final decision on the merits, because plaintiff voluntarily amended his complaint to assert a federal Truth in Lending Act claim. On the merits, the panel held that the district court properly granted summary judgment to the dealership defendants and American Honda Finance. In this case, plaintiff had not demonstrated a genuine issue of material fact as to whether he was promised an add-on that he did not receive. The panel also held that the district court did not abuse its discretion by denying plaintiff's request for more time for discovery. View "Singh v. American Honda Finance" 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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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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The Ninth Circuit reversed the district court's order granting summary judgment for USA Funds, holding that the district court incorrectly determined that a reasonable jury could not hold USA Funds vicariously liable for the debt collectors' alleged Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) violations. The panel held that USA Funds was not per se vicariously liable under FCC orders. However, the panel held that, under federal common law, there were genuine issues of material fact as to whether USA Funds ratified the debt collectors' calling practices and thus had a principal-agent relationship with the debt collectors. View "Henderson v. United Student Aid Funds, Inc." on Justia Law