Justia Consumer Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
Shimon v. Equifax Information Services LLC
After Asset Acceptance received a default judgment against plaintiff in a debt collection action, Asset Acceptance began garnishing plaintiff's wages. Plaintiff then appeared in the action, eventually entering into a stipulation of settlement. When plaintiff learned that Equifax was including the 2013 default judgment on his credit report, he filed suit alleging that, in reporting the judgment as "satisfied" and in its subsequent dealings with plaintiff, Equifax willfully and negligently violated the source-disclosure, accurate reporting, and reinvestigation provisions of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FRCPA).The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's judgment in favor of Equifax, concluding that the district court correctly determined that Equifax's credit report was accurate; plaintiff could not establish damages arising from Equifax's allegedly negligent conduct; and that Equifax need not prove it actually interpreted the FCRA in line with its claimed reasonable interpretation to rely on the reasonable-interpretation defense established by Safeco Insurance Company of America v. Burr, 551 U.S. 47, 57 (2007). The court considered plaintiff's remaining arguments on appeal and found no basis for reversal. View "Shimon v. Equifax Information Services LLC" on Justia Law
Dane v. UnitedHealthcare Insurance Co.
The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal, based on Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), of plaintiff's amended complaint alleging that defendants violated Connecticut and District of Columbia law in entering into a licensing agreement with respect to a group plan for Medicare supplement insurance. Plaintiff claimed that defendants' royalty fee arrangement constituted an unlawful "premium rebate" in violation of Connecticut and District of Columbia anti-rebating insurance laws.The court held that plaintiff did not state an unlawful rebate claim under Connecticut or D.C. law because he failed to plausibly allege any ascertainable loss or injury as a result of his purchase of Medicare supplement insurance ("Medigap") or the AARP royalty fee. Likewise, the court held that plaintiff failed to plausibly allege a cognizable claim based on his purchase of Medigap insurance through the AARP-UnitedHealthcare plan. In regard to plaintiff's consumer protection claims, he failed to show any concrete and particularized injury because he paid only the regulator-approved rate and received the Medigap insurance he contracted for. Finally, plaintiff failed to plausibly allege the requisite elements for his remaining common law claims and his statutory theft claim under Connecticut law. View "Dane v. UnitedHealthcare Insurance Co." on Justia Law
Wagner v. Chiari & Ilecki, LLP
Plaintiff filed suit alleging that C&I violated various provisions of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) by sending him a debt collection notice, information subpoena, subpoena duces tecum, and restraining notices in connection with C&I's efforts to collect on a state court judgment for an unpaid debt, though plaintiff was not the debtor.The Second Circuit held that the district court erred in granting summary judgment to C&I as to the bona fide error defense under Section 1692k(c) of the FDCPA. In this case, a reasonable jury could find that C&I's error was not bona fide and that C&I did not maintain procedures reasonably adapted to avoid its error. Accordingly, the court vacated the order and judgment, remanding for further proceedings. However, the court otherwise affirmed the judgment, holding that C&I's conduct did not violate Sections 1692e(5) where C&I unintentionally sent otherwise valid and lawful debt collection communications to a non-debtor. Furthermore, C&I did not violate Section 1692f where its conduct did not constitute unfair or unconscionable means of debt collect. View "Wagner v. Chiari & Ilecki, LLP" on Justia Law
Sprague v. Salisbury Bank & Trust Co.
The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of plaintiffs' amended complaint against Salisbury Bank for failure to state a claim. Plaintiffs alleged that the bank violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act and related state causes of action by failing to correct information contained in one of the plaintiff's credit reports after being notified that the information was not correct.The court agreed with the district court that plaintiffs' allegation that they notified Salisbury directly of their dispute, standing alone, is insufficient to state a claim under 15 U.S.C. 1681s–2(b). In this case, plaintiffs have not alleged facts indicating that Salisbury received notice from a consumer reporting agency regarding the inaccuracies in the credit report. Furthermore, the district court did not err in denying leave to amend and dismissing with prejudice where nothing in plaintiffs' proposed second amended complaint corrected the deficiency. View "Sprague v. Salisbury Bank & Trust Co." on Justia Law
Duran v. La Boom Disco, Inc.
Plaintiff filed suit alleging that LBD used Automatic Telephone Dialing Systems (ATDSs) in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA). In this case, plaintiff received hundreds of unsolicited text messages from LBD over the course of more than a year and a half.The Second Circuit vacated the district court's grant of summary judgment to LBD, holding that LBD's systems qualified as ATDSs. The court held that LBD's systems met both statutory requirements by having both the capacity to store or produce telephone numbers to be called, using a random or sequential number generator, and the capacity to dial such numbers. Accordingly, the court remanded for further proceedings. View "Duran v. La Boom Disco, Inc." on Justia Law
Bryan v. Credit Control, LLC
Plaintiff, individually and on behalf of a class, filed suit under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, alleging that Credit Control, in an effort to collect the outstanding debt on plaintiff's Kohl's private label credit card account, sent him a letter that did not list the "creditor to whom the debt is owed," in violation of 15 U.S.C. 1692g. Plaintiff also alleged that Credit Control's letter constituted a false or misleading representation, in violation of 15 U.S.C. 1692e. The district court granted summary judgment on the pleadings to Credit Control.The Second Circuit held that the district court erred in finding that Credit Control disclosed the "name of the creditor to whom the debt is owed" by listing Kohl's, the servicer of the account, as the "client." Because the district court then relied on this erroneous finding in further holding that the letter did not constitute a false or misleading representation, the court did not reach the question of whether the letter violated Section 1692e. Accordingly, the court reversed as the Section 1692g claim and vacated as to the Section 1692e claim, remanding for further proceedings. View "Bryan v. Credit Control, LLC" on Justia Law
Chen v. Dunkin’ Brands, Inc.
The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of plaintiffs' second amended complaint alleging that Dunkin Donuts deceptively marketed two of its trademarked products -- the Angus Steak & Egg Breakfast Sandwich and the Angus Steak & Egg Wake-Up Wrap. Plaintiffs alleged that through representations made in labeling and television advertisements, Dunkin Donuts deceived consumers into believing that the Products contained an "intact" piece of meat when the Products actually contained a ground beef patty with multiple additives. The district court dismissed claims based on lack of general personal jurisdiction in New York and failure to state a claim.The court held that, under New York law, the act of registering to do business under section 1301 of the New York Business Corporation Law does not constitute consent to general personal jurisdiction in New York. The court rejected plaintiffs' arguments that Dunkin Donuts' contacts with New York were sufficient to subject it to general personal jurisdiction in the state, and agreed with the district court that plaintiff failed to allege a plausible violation of sections 349 and 350. View "Chen v. Dunkin' Brands, Inc." on Justia Law
L.S. v. Webloyalty, Inc.
Plaintiff filed a putative class action under the Electronic Funds Transfer Act (EFTA), alleging that defendant failed to provide plaintiff with a copy of the written authorization he gave online for recurring monthly charges to his debit card.The Second Circuit affirmed in part, holding that Webloyalty satisfied its obligation under the EFTA by providing plaintiff with an email containing the relevant terms and conditions of that authorization. In this case, the EFTA did not require Webloyalty to provide plaintiff with a duplicate of the webpage on which he provided authorization for recurring fund transfers, and Webloyalty's email to plaintiff was sufficient. However, the court held on a separate claim arising under the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act, that the district court erroneously dismissed the claim for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The court considered plaintiff's remaining arguments and concluded that they were meritless. The court vacated in part and remanded for further proceedings. View "L.S. v. Webloyalty, Inc." on Justia Law
Brennan-Centrella v. Ritz-Craft Corporation of Pennsylvania
This appeal stemmed from the jury's award of damages against Ritz-Craft for violation of the Vermont Consumer Protection Act in selling and constructing a modular home that plaintiffs purchased for their retirement.The Second Circuit certified a question of state law to the Vermont Supreme Court: whether a court may grant prejudgment interest to private litigants who are awarded compensatory damages under the Vermont Consumer Protection Act, Vt. Stat. Ann., tit. 9, 2461(b).The court resolved the remaining claims in the appeal and cross-appeal in a separate summary order. View "Brennan-Centrella v. Ritz-Craft Corporation of Pennsylvania" on Justia Law
Geffner v. The Coca-Cola Co.
The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of an action alleging that Coca‐Cola violated several provisions of New York State law through misleading naming and marketing of its soft drink "Diet Coke." The court held that when included in a soft drink title, the adjective "diet" (1) refers specifically to caloric content rather than a generic promise of weight‐loss, and (2) carries a primarily relative (in relation to the non‐diet soft drink equivalent), rather than an absolute, meaning. Therefore, the court found that plaintiffs' allegations of false statements or conduct implausible on their face and held that the district court properly dismissed the complaint under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). View "Geffner v. The Coca-Cola Co." on Justia Law