Justia Class Action Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Banking
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In an antitrust class action brought on behalf of approximately 12 million merchants against Visa and Mastercard, as well as other various banks, plaintiffs alleged conspiracy in violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. 1. After the parties agreed to a settlement releasing all claims, the district court certified two settlement-only classes and approved the settlement. Numerous objectors and opt‐out plaintiffs appealed and argued that the class action was improperly certified and that the settlement was unreasonable and inadequate. The court concluded that class members of the (b)(2) class were inadequately represented in violation of both FRCP 23(a)(4) and the Due Process Clause. The court also concluded that procedural deficiencies produced substantive shortcomings in this class action and the settlement. Consequently, the court concluded that the class action was improperly certified and the settlement was unreasonable and inadequate. The court vacated the district court's certification of the class action and reversed the approval of the settlement. The court remanded for further proceedings. View "In re Payment Card Interchange Fee and Merchant Discount Antitrust" on Justia Law

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The Fangmans sought to represent a class of approximately 4,000 to 5,000 individuals who, from 2009 to 2014, retained Genuine Title for settlement and title services and utilized various lenders for the purchase and/or refinancing of their residences, allegedly as a result of referrals from the lenders. All of the lenders are servicers of federally related mortgage loans. The complaint alleges an illegal kickback scheme and that “sham companies” that were created by Genuine Title to conceal the kickbacks, which were not disclosed on the HUD-1 form. After dismissing most of the federal claims, the federal court certified to the Maryland Court of Appeals the question of law: Does Md. Code , Real Prop. [(1974, 2015 Repl. Vol.) 14-127 imply a private right of action?” The statute prohibits certain consideration in real estate transactions. That court responded “no” and held that RP 14-127 does not contain an express or implied private right of action, as neither its plain language, legislative history, nor legislative purpose demonstrates any intent on the General Assembly’s part to create a private right of action. View "Fangman v. Genuine Title, LLC" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs obtained residential mortgage loans from M&T to finance the purchase of their homes and, because the loans exceeded 80% of the value of the residences, agreed to pay for private mortgage insurance. As is customary, M&T selected the insurers who, in turn, reinsured the insurance policy with M&T Reinsurance, M&T’s captive reinsurer. Beginning in 2011, counsel sent letters to Plaintiffs advising that they were investigating claims concerning M&T’s captive mortgage reinsurance. Plaintiffs agreed to be part of a lawsuit against M&T and filed a putative class action complaint alleging violations of the anti-kickback and anti-fee-splitting provisions of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), 12 U.S.C. 2607, and unjust enrichment. After discovery, the court granted M&T summary judgment, finding the claims time-barred and that Plaintiffs could not equitably toll the limitations period because none of them had exercised reasonable diligence in investigating any potential claims under RESPA. The Third Circuit affirmed, noting that the one-year statute of limitations runs “from the date of the occurrence of the violation,” View "Cunningham v. M&T Bank Corp." on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs, former customers of West Bank, filed a multiple-count proposed consumer class action lawsuit against the Bank challenging one-time nonsufficient funds fees the Bank charged when Plaintiffs used their debit cards to create overdrafts in their checking account. Plaintiffs alleged usury claims and sequencing claims. The district court denied the Bank’s motions for summary judgment on the usury and sequencing claims but granted summary judgment on the Bank’s motion for summary judgment on Plaintiffs’ usury claim arising under the Iowa Ongoing Criminal Conduct Act. In a companion case issued today, the Supreme Court concluded that the district court erred in denying the Bank’s motions for summary judgment except as to the good-faith claim involving the sequencing of overdrafts. Likewise, the Court here found that the district court also erred in certifying the class action on all claims except for Plaintiffs' good-faith sequencing claim. View "Legg v. West Bank" on Justia Law

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Bell alleged that her former employer, PNC Bank, failed to pay her overtime wages in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. 201, and the Illinois Minimum Wage and Wage Payment and Collection Acts, and that the failure was not an isolated incident, but rather part of a PNC policy or practice that affected other employees. Bell claimed that she was evaluated, in part, based on how many new accounts she brought into the bank, and in order to generate new accounts she needed to spend “significant” time outside of her regular work hours visiting prospective clients. Some of the assignments to visit prospective clients came from a PNC vice president who did not work at the Bell’ branch. According to Bell, when she submitted time cards reflecting overtime work, her branch manager and a PNC regional manager told her that “PNC would not permit... overtime for the branch,” and “PNC expected its employees to handle their outside-the-branch work on their own time, without reporting any extra hours that they worked.” The Seventh Circuit affirmed certification of a class of plaintiffs. Many issues remain unanswered and the district court was correct to conclude that a class action would be an appropriate and efficient pathway to resolution. View "Bell v. PNC Bank" on Justia Law

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In the underlying putative class action, counsel for the named plaintiffs obtained a collection of records owned by JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. (Chase). Plaintiffs sought to rely on the documents to pursue claims sounding in fraud, deceit, and conversion against Chase. A dispute arose as to whether portions of the Chase records were shielded from discovery and litigation under a provision of Bank Secrecy Act and related regulations. A magistrate judge reviewed all of the disputed documents in camera and concluded that the majority of the documents were not shielded by statute or regulation. Chase then initiated this mandamus proceeding, asking the First Circuit to intervene by declaring that the Act and related regulations shielded an additional fifty-five pages of Chase records from production or use in the putative class action. The First Circuit denied the petition for writ of mandamus, holding that, even assuming that the Act and regulations apply, the documents at dispute would not be shielded from discovery or use in litigation. View "In re JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A." on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs described a predatory lending scheme affecting numerous borrowers nationwide, allegedly masterminded by Shumway, a residential mortgage loan business operating through other entities and title companies, to offer high-interest mortgage-backed loans to financially strapped homeowners. As a non-depository lender, Shumway was subject to fee caps and interest ceilings imposed by state mortgage lending laws. Plaintiffs claimed that, to circumvent those limitations, Shumway formed associations with banks, including CBNV and Guaranty, which were depository institutions. Plaintiffs alleged that CBNV and Guaranty uniformly misrepresented the apportionment and distribution of settlement and title fees on their HUD–1 Settlement Statement forms. The district court certified a nationwide class of individuals who received residential mortgage loans from CBNV. Two previous appeals involved certification of settlement classes. In a third appeal, the Third Circuit rejected arguments that there was a fundamental class conflict that undermines the adequacy of representation provided by class counsel; that the court conditionally certified the class and thus erred; and that the putative class does not meet the ascertainability, commonality, predominance, superiority, or manageability requirements of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23. View "In re: Community Bank of N. Va." on Justia Law

Posted in: Banking, Class Action
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Respondents, three married couples, obtained home equity lines of credit from Petitioners, a bank and its loan officer. Approximately four years later, Petitioners filed a putative class action alleging that these transactions were part of an elaborate “buy-first-sell-later” mortgage fraud arrangement carried out by Petitioners and other defendants. Petitioners alleged numerous causes of action, including fraud, conspiracy, and violations of Maryland consumer protection statutes. The circuit court granted summary judgment for Petitioners, concluding that the statute of limitations barred several of Respondents’ claims and that no Petitioner violated the Maryland Secondary Mortgage Loan Law as a matter of law. The Court of Special Appeals reversed. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding that the Court of Special Appeals (1) erred in concluding that Respondents stated a claim upon which relief could be granted under the Maryland Secondary Mortgage Loan Law; and (2) erred in concluding that it was a question of fact to be decided by the jury as to whether Respondents’ claims against Petitioners were barred by the relevant statute of limitations. View "Windesheim v. Larocca" on Justia Law

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In 2011, Eminence Investors, LLLP (Plaintiff) brought suit against against The Bank of New York Mellon (Defendant). Nearly two years later, Plaintiff filed an amended complaint adding class allegations on behalf of more than 100 class members and requesting compensatory damages expected to exceed $10 million. Within thirty days of the filing of the complaint, Defendant removed the action to federal court pursuant to the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA). Plaintiff moved to remand the case to state court. The district court remanded the case to state court, concluding that removal was untimely. Defendant appealed. A panel of the Ninth Circuit dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction the appeal, holding that the securities exception from CAFA removal applied to this case. View "Eminence Investors, LLLP v. Bank of New York Mellon" on Justia Law

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The London InterBank Offered Rate (LIBOR) is a reference point in determining interest rates for financial instruments in the U.S. and globally. The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) established a multidistrict litigation for cases alleging that banks understated their borrowing costs, depressing LIBOR and enabling the banks to pay lower interest rates on financial instruments sold to investors. Over 60 actions were consolidated, including the Gelboim class action, which raised a single claim that banks, acting in concert, had violated federal antitrust law. The district court dismissed all antitrust claims and granted certifications under Rule 54(b), which authorizes parties with multiple-claim complaints to immediately appeal dismissal of discrete claims. The Second Circuit dismissed the Gelboim appeal because the order appealed from did not dispose of all of the claims in the consolidated action. A unanimous Supreme Court reversed. The order dismissing their case in its entirety removed Gelboim from the consolidated proceeding, triggering their right to appeal under 28 U.S.C. 1291, which gives the courts of appeals jurisdiction over appeals from “all final decisions of the district courts.” Because cases consolidated for MDL pretrial proceedings ordinarily retain their separate identities, an order disposing of one of the discrete cases in its entirety qualifies under section 1291 as an appealable final decision. The JPML’s authority to transfer civil actions for consolidated pretrial proceedings, 28 U.S.C. 1407, refers to individual “actions,” not to a monolithic multidistrict “action” and indicates Congress’ anticipation that, during pretrial proceedings, final decisions might be rendered in one or more of the consolidated actions. The Gelboim plaintiffs are no longer participants in the consolidated proceedings. View "Gelboim v. Bank of Am. Corp." on Justia Law