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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court granting summary judgment to Defendants in this putative class action seeking a declaratory judgment that the Montana Retail Installment Sales Act (RISA), Mont. Code Ann. 31-1-201, et seq., barred Defendants from recovery of any interest, finance charges, or late charges on installment contracts for the purchase of a manufactured home, holding that the 2009 version of RISA controlled in this case and did not confer a private cause of action. Plaintiffs purchased a mobile home from Cherry Creek Development Inc. and financed a portion of the price through an installment contract assigned to RJC Investment, Inc. Plaintiffs filed this putative class action against Cherry Creek and RJC Investment (together, Defendants), asserting several violations of Mont. Code Ann. 31-1-231 through -243. The district court granted summary judgment to Defendants on the basis that RISA did not confer a private cause of action. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the applicable version of RISA did not confer a private right of action. View "Somers v. Cherry Creek Development, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Taniguchis obtained a $510,500 home loan, secured by a deed of trust. A 2009 loan modification reduced their monthly payments and deferred until the loan's maturity approximately $116,000 of indebtedness. The modification provided that failure to make modified payments as scheduled would be default so that the modification would be void at the lender’s option. The modification left unchanged the original acceleration clauses and power of sale. The Taniguchis defaulted on the modified loan and were informed that to avoid foreclosure, they would have to pay their four missed payments and associated late charges, foreclosure fees and costs, plus all sums deferred under the modification (about $120,000 in principal, interest and charges). The Taniguchis filed suit. Restoration recorded a notice of trustee’s sale. The Taniguchis obtained a temporary restraining order. The Taniguchis alleged violations of Civil Code section 2924c by demanding excessive amounts to reinstate the loan, unfair competition, breach of contract, and breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing. The trial court entered judgment in favor of Restoration. The court of appeal vacated in part. When principal comes due because of a default, section 2924c allows a borrower to cure that default and reinstate the loan by paying the default amount plus fees and expenses. Section 2924c gives the Taniguchis the opportunity to cure by paying the missed modified payments and avoid the demand for immediate payment of the deferred amounts. Nothing in the loan modification suggests that the Taniguchis forfeited that opportunity; section 2924c does not indicate that a forfeiture would be enforceable. View "Taniguchi v. Restoration Homes, LLC" on Justia Law

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In this class action lawsuit filed by individuals against whom Defendant, an unlicensed debt buyer, obtained judgments in the district court, the Court of Appeals vacated the decision of the Court of Special Appeals affirming the circuit court's rulings with respect to Defendant's liability under the Maryland Consumer Debt Collection Act, Md. Code Title 14, Subtitle 2 of the Commercial Law Article, but remanding the case for retrial on the issue of damages, holding that remand was necessary for a reassessment of damages. Because Defendant was unlicensed, Plaintiffs sought to have the judgments against them declared void and sought monetary damages. The circuit court dismissed the case, concluding that it was an impermissible collateral attack on enrolled judgments. The Court of Special Appeals remanded for trial, ruling that the enrolled judgments were void. On remand, the jury returned verdicts for Plaintiffs and the class. The Court of Special Appeals remanded for a new trial on damages after again holding that the district court judgments were void. The Court of Appeals held (1) the Court of Special Appeals erred in concluding that the judgments were void because the collateral attack on the enrolled judgments was not allowed; and (2) the licensing statute permits a private cause of action for acting as a collection agency without a license. View "LVNV Funding LLC v. Finch" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed a putative class action against AEO, alleging that unsolicited spam text messages they received were in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. After the parties agreed to settle, third party defendant Experian objected to certification, arguing that plaintiffs lacked standing under Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, 136 S. Ct. 1540 (2016). Class member Bowes objected to the settlement as unfair. The district court approved both the settlement and certified the settlement class. The Second Circuit held that plaintiffs' receipt of the unsolicited text messages, without any other injury, was sufficient to demonstrate injury-in-fact. The court held that plaintiffs were not required to demonstrate any additional harm because the nuisance and privacy invasion attendant on spam texts were the very harms with which Congress was concerned when enacting the Act. Furthermore, history confirms that causes of action to remedy such injuries were traditionally regarded as providing bases for lawsuits in English or American courts. Therefore, the court dismissed Experian's appeal. The court affirmed with respect to Bowes' appeal, because the district court acted within its discretion in approving the class settlement. View "Melito v. Experian Marketing Solutions, Inc." on Justia Law

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Abdollahzadeh opened an MBNA credit-card account in 1998. He defaulted on the debt, making his last payment in August 2010. In June 2011 he attempted another payment that never cleared. In April 2013 MBNA sold his account to CACH, which referred Abdollahzadeh’s debt to Mandarich, a debt-collection law firm. CACH identified the later, unsuccessful payment attempt as the last payment on the account. Relying on this date, Mandarich sent Abdollahzadeh a collection letter in December 2015. Mandarich sued when it received no response. The state court dismissed the suit because the last payment to clear occurred outside of Illinois’s five-year statute of limitations. Abdollahzadeh sued Mandarich for attempting to collect a time-barred debt (Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. 1692). The court granted Mandarich summary judgment, concluding that the violations were unintentional and occurred despite reasonable procedures aimed at avoiding untimely collection attempts. The Seventh Circuit affirmed, rejecting Abdollahzadeh’s arguments that Mandarich’s continuation of the collection action after it learned the true last-payment date created a factual dispute on the issue of intent; that the firm’s reliance on CACH’s representations about the last-payment date was an abdication of its duty to engage in meaningful review; and that the firm’s procedures for weeding out time-barred debts were insufficient to support the affirmative defense. The bona fide error defense doesn’t require independent verification and procedural perfection. Mandarich had procedures in place that were reasonably adapted to avoid late collection efforts. View "Abdollahzadeh v. Mandarich Law Group, LLP" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs brought a putative class action alleging that between 2009 and 2014 certain lenders participated in "kickback schemes" prohibited by the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA). The district court dismissed the claims because the first of the five class actions was filed after the expiration of the one year statute of limitations. The Fourth Circuit reversed and held that, under the allegations set forth in their complaints, plaintiffs were entitled to relief from the limitations period under the fraudulent concealment tolling doctrine. In this case, plaintiffs sufficiently pleaded that the lenders engaged in affirmative acts of concealment and the court could not conclude as a matter of law that these plaintiffs unreasonably failed to discover or investigate the basis of their claims within the limitations period. Accordingly, the court remanded for further proceedings. View "Edmondson v. Eagle National Bank" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed suit alleging violations of Vermont and federal law when the terms of their loan agreements provided for interest rates well in excess of caps imposed by Vermont law. Plaintiffs sought an injunction against tribal officers in charge of Plain Green and an award of money damages against other defendants. The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of defendants' motion to dismiss and motion to compel arbitration. The court held that tribal sovereign immunity did not bar this suit because plaintiffs may sue tribal officers under a theory analogous to Ex parte Young for prospective, injunctive relief based on violations of state and substantive federal law occurring off of tribal lands. The court also held that the arbitration clauses of the loan agreements were unenforceable and unconscionable. View "Gingras v. Think Finance, Inc." on Justia Law

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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

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of Credico's motion to dismiss a complaint alleging that the content of a debt collection letter violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). The court held that plaintiff failed to sufficiently plead that Credico violated the Act by using "PROFESSIONAL DEBT COLLECTORS" and the acronym "CCB" because they were organization names other than Credico's true name. Furthermore, Credico did not violate the Act by having a non-licensed signatory on the letter, because there were two other licensed signatories in the letter. Finally, under Minnesota law, Credico was permitted to seek prejudgment interest. View "Klein v. Credico Inc." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals affirming the circuit court's order granting Security Finance's (Security) motion to dismiss Brian Kirsch's (Kirsch) counterclaims against Security under Wis. Stat. Chapters 425 and 427, holding that Kirsch's counterclaims were properly dismissed. Security and Kirsch entered into a loan agreement. Kirsch later defaulted on the payment obligation. Security subsequently filed a small claims lawsuit against Kirsch to enforce the agreement and collect the alleged debt. Kirsch counterclaimed for damages under chapter 427, the Wisconsin Consumer Act, on the grounds that Security filed this action before serving Kirsch with a notice of right to cure default satisfying the requirements set forth in chapter 425. The circuit court dismissed the counterclaim relating to the notice of right to cure default. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that a creditor's failure to provide a notice of right to cure default does not constitute a sufficient basis for relief under chapter 427. View "Security Finance v. Kirsch" on Justia Law