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Posts published by “Mickey J. Lee”

7th Cir. Rejects FDCPA Claim That ‘May’ Meant ‘Will’

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit recently concluded that collection letters sent to consumers offering to settle their debt but warning them that the settlement “may have tax consequences” did not violate the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). The plaintiffs had argued that the letters were false and misleading because they were insolvent and, as such, would not have incurred any tax liability for any discharged debt.  The Seventh Circuit rejected the argument, concluding that the term “may” only meant there could be tax consequences, and it was possible insolvent debtors would become solvent before settling…

8th Cir. Holds Civil Procedure Rules Could Not Extend Minnesota Foreclosure Deadlines

Answering a certified question from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, the Minnesota Supreme Court recently held that a rule of civil procedure cannot be used to modify deadlines in the state’s foreclosure statute. In so ruling, the Minnesota Supreme Court concluded that to allow a rule of procedure to extend a deadline contained in the Minnesota foreclosure statute would alter the substantive rights of the litigants. At issue in the case was the borrowers’ argument that the loan servicer violated the statutory requirements for handling foreclosures under Minn. Stat. § 582.043. The statute at issue required the borrowers…

Fla. Supreme Court Holds Lenders May Pursue Separate Deficiency Action After Foreclosure

The Florida Supreme Court recently resolved a conflict among the state appellate courts. At issue in the case was whether section 702.06, Florida Statutes (2014) permitted lenders to pursue a deficiency claim as a separate action at law even though the foreclosure court had reserved jurisdiction in its final judgment to adjudicate the deficiency claim. The First District Court of Appeal had ruled that a lender could not pursue the deficiency as a separate action at law, which was in conflict with decisions from the Second, Third, Fourth and Fifth District Courts of Appeal. The Florida Supreme Court resolved the…

5th Cir. Holds Debt Collector Affiliate of Debt Buyer Still FDCPA ‘Debt Collector’

In a recently issued unpublished opinion, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit rejected the argument of the attorney defendant who owned a law firm and a debt-buying company that he was exempt under the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) because he was a creditor “by proxy.” Specifically, the Fifth Circuit determined that the attorney, his law firm, and his debt-buying company were all distinct entities as a matter of law, such that his argument that he, as the owner of the debt-buying company, owned the debt and thus he did not qualify as a debt…

ND Indiana Grants Class Cert. Over Objections as to Standing, Commonality of Injury, ‘Consumer’ Debt

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana recently concluded that the objective “unsophisticated consumer” standard applicable in the Seventh Circuit for whether there was a material misrepresentation under the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) parallels the commonality requirement for class certification under Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(a). In addition, the District Court concluded that receiving a false and misleading dunning letter from a debt collector, as the plaintiff alleged, establishes an injury in fact to the plaintiff.  According to the Court, even though the injury was intangible, it was concrete and particularized, thus establishing the…

4th Cir. Holds HPA Does Not Require LPMI Disclosures If LPMI Not Required at Closing

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit recently concluded that lender-paid mortgage insurance (“LPMI”) disclosures under the federal Homeowners Protection Act are only required if LPMI is a condition of the borrower obtaining the loan. In affirming the trial court’s dismissal of the borrowers’ claims, the Fourth Circuit dissected the specific language of the provision in the HPA addressing disclosures related to mortgage insurance, 12 U.S.C. § 4905.  Specifically, the Fourth Circuit determined that the disclosures are only required if LPMI is a condition of the loan at the time of closing. In this case, the lender did not…

Calif. App. Court (1st Dist) Holds Intent of Parties Determines Priority of Simultaneous Lien Recordings

The Court of Appeal of California, First District, recently concluded that if two deeds of trust are submitted at the same time for recording, the order in which they are indexed is not determinative of priority.  Instead, according to the Court, the intent of the parties will determine priority. In this case, one originating lender extended two loans secured by the same real estate, and it was apparent that the expectation was that the larger mortgage loan would have priority. The trial court had held that the defendant was the senior lienholder even though the defendant’s mortgage was indexed after…

Illinois App. Court Rules Factual Question Precluded Summary Judgment in HUD/FHA Face-to-Face Challenge

The Appellate Court of Illinois, Second District recently concluded that two borrowers failed to rebut the foreclosing mortgagee’s prima facie case of standing to pursue foreclosure against the borrowers, and affirmed the trial court’s determination that the plaintiff mortgagee established as a matter of law that it had standing. The Second District, however, reversed the trial court’s order of summary judgment by concluding there were issues of fact as to whether the plaintiff complied with HUD’s face-to-face interview requirement at 24 C.F.R. § 203.604. As to the standing issue, the Second District held that the plaintiff established a prima facie…

6th Cir. Reverses Contempt Sanction Against Defendant That Thwarted Paying Plaintiff Class Counsel’s Fees

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals recently concluded that distributing all of a company’s cash to its owners after a class action settlement was reached but before the court’s order to pay became final, thus leaving the company without the ability to pay class counsel’s fees or administration costs as required under the settlement agreement, did not constitute contempt. The trial court had originally determined that the distribution of the money constituted contempt because the defendant had knowingly violated the court’s order to pay class counsel’s fees. The Sixth Circuit, however, concluded that a finding of contempt is limited to…

9th Cir. Rules Mortgage Underwriters Not Exempt Under FLSA

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit recently held that mortgage underwriters were not exempt under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and were therefore entitled to overtime compensation for hours worked in excess of 40 per week. After analyzing the specific details of the underwriters’ responsibilities, the Ninth Circuit panel concluded that, because the underwriters’ primary job duty did not relate to their employer bank’s management or general business operations, the administrative employee exemption to the FLSA’s overtime requirements did not apply. Recognizing that there was a split between the Second Circuit and Sixth Circuit as…

Illinois App. Court (1st Dist) Holds Borrower Could Not Challenge Foreclosure Sale Notice as Unlawfully Discriminatory

The Illinois Court of Appeals, First District, recently determined that a borrower in a foreclosure matter did not have standing to challenge whether the mortgagee’s notice of sale was in violation of the Illinois Human Rights Act (IHRA). Following the entry of a judgment of foreclosure, the plaintiff mortgagee published its notice of sale, in which the mortgagee required that anyone attending the sale possess a “photo identification issued by a government agency.” The mortgagee purchased the property at the sale, and then moved for an order confirming the sale.  The borrower objected to the mortgagee’s motion, arguing that the…

NJ Fed. Court Dismisses Technical FACTA Violation Putative Class Action Citing Spokeo

The U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey recently concluded that a putative class representative did not have standing under Spokeo to sue for a technical violation of the federal Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA). The Court identified the issue as whether the consumer alleges a sufficiently “concrete” harm to confer standing, based on a technical violation of FACTA, 15 U.S.C. § 1681, et seq., when a retail store printed the first six numbers and last four numbers of his credit card on his transaction receipts.  Relying on the Supreme Court’s ruling in Spokeo Inc. v.…