//Case Index – Closed Cases

Case Index – Closed Cases

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Auto Finance Discrimination

As co-counsel in a series of national class action lawsuits brought under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, NCLC has successfully attacked racially discriminatory lending practices in the used (and new) car business, with settlements valued at well over $100 million. The cases, which were filed against some of the nation’s largest auto finance companies and banks, charged that the defendants maintained policies which permit car dealers to “mark-up” the finance rates on loans based on subjective criteria unrelated to creditworthiness. This mark-up policy has had a disparate impact on African-American and Hispanic customers, who end up paying more for credit than whites with similar credit ratings. The lawsuits, which exposed practices that had operated secretly for over 75 years and had resulted in higher-interest rate car loans for minorities, have transformed car financing practices across the industry.

Bank Overdraft Fees

  • Yourke v. Bank of AmericaComplaint
    (Appendix A, Appendix B, Appendix C-1 and C-2, Appendix D, Appendix E, Appendices F-G)

Debt Collection

  • Blake v. Riddle & Wood, Second Amended Class Action Complaint for telephone harassment of Massachusetts debtors.
  • Clawson, appellant v. Midland Funding – Opinion of Court of Appeals Decision, Feb. 26, 2013.
    The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed approval of a nationwide settlement affecting 1.44 million victims of a debt buyer’s “predatory practices” in using robosigned affidavits to obtain state court collection judgments. The Court found that the original settlement was unfair, unreasonable, and inadequate, that the district court abused its discretion in certifying the nationwide settlement class, and that the notice to prospective class members did not satisfy due process. This step allows all of the other robo-signing cases brought against Midland around the United States to proceed. NCLC represented one of the appellants in the case.
  • Dorrian v. LVNV  Second Amended Complaint on behalf of class of individuals sued by debt buyer which is unlicensed in Massachusetts. Class certified and partial Summary Judgment for Plaintiffs was overturned by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. 479 Mass. 265 94 N.E.3d 370 (2018).
  • Fritz v. Resurgent Capital Services and LVNV, Case No. 11–CV–3300 FB VVP in the Eastern District of New York. Memorandum & OrderFinal judgment, Sept. 16, 2016
    This case challenges the practice of debt buyer LVNV filing state court collection suits in the name of Resurent Capital, one of its unlicensed subsidiaries, in order to protect itself from liability. In a ruling on July 24, 2013, the court denied the defendants’ Motion to Dismiss in all respects but one. He held that plaintiffs had stated a viable misrepresentation claim under the FDCPA. The court recognized that misrepresenting the owner of the debt was a material violation even though the true owner was a corporate parent because it could confuse and mislead the least sophisticated consumer. Another FDCPA violation that also passed muster was that defendants falsely reported the amount of the debt to CRAs by including state court costs even when they hadn’t yet gotten a judgment in their collection action awarding such costs.
    Affirmative defenses of collateral estoppel (due to state court collection judgments), abstention and Noerr Pennington were rejected too. The only claim that was dismissed related to an individual collection letter that also misrepresented ownership of the debt, but was filed beyond the 1 year statute of limitations for such a claim. The decision is reported at 2013 WL 3821479.
  • Jenkins v. General Collection Co., Second Amended Class Action Complaint and Settlement Agreement
  • Kulig v. Midland Funding, Case No. 13 CV 4715, US District Court (EDNY) – suit for systematically filing time-barred lawsuits against hundreds of New York consumers who fell behind on their credit card payments. The suit covers New York consumers whose credit card was issued by a Delaware bank. Under NY law, these collection suits must be filed within 3 years of default on the account, but Midland routinely sues long after that. Settled on an individual basis.
  • Lannan v. Levy & White, Case No. 14 cv 13866 – Partial summary judgment as to liability and class certification were granted in an FDCPA and MA Ch. 93A suit against an attorney debt collector who misrepresented the amount owed by persons receiving ambulance services when he calculated prejudgment interest from the date the services were provided, rather than from the date a demand for payment was sent to the patient. In addition, as a separate violation, in his small claims complaints, the attorney lumped prejudgment interest that hadn’t yet been awarded into the amount claimed to already be due at the time of filing of the complaint. The court found this could be confusing to an unsophisticated consumer deciding how to respond to the complaint. Complaint || Order Subsequently, a class action settlement was approved by the Court.
  • Pettway v. Harmon Law Offices, P.C., Second Amended Class Action Complaint
  • Spence v. CavalryComplaint and Class Action Settlement involving major debt buyer’s practice of retroactively adding interest to the balances on credit card debts it purchased.

ERISA

Fair Housing

  • Connecticut Fair Housing Center, Inc. vs Liberty Bank Case No. 18-1654 || Press Release and Complaint The National Consumer Law Center and and the Connecticut Fair Housing Center filed a fair housing lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut against Liberty Bank, alleging that Liberty Bank violated the Fair Housing Act by: engaging in a pattern and practice of redlining communities where most of the residents are racial and ethnic minorities; discriminating against African – American and Latinx mortgage applicants and; discouraging African – American and Latinx mortgage applicants from applying for credit. Press Release and Settlement Agreement.

Foreclosures

Land Contracts

  • Horne et al. v. Harbour Portfolio et al.
    Horne et al v. Harbour Portfolio et al.
    Second Amended Complaint (N.D. GA)
    Horne et al v. Harbour Portfolio et al.
    Third Amended Complaint (N.D. GA)
    Opposition to Defendant Harbour’s Motion to Dismiss Second Amended Complaint
    Opposition to Defendant NAA’s Motion to Dismiss Second Amended Complaint
    Order on Motion to Dismiss Second Amended Complaint (N.D. GA)

    Horne v. Harbour Portfolio, Unites States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia: Suit was brought by the Atlanta Legal Aid Society on behalf of 22 African-American residents representing 16 household. The action asserted claims of discriminatory targeting for abusive credit terms in home purchase “contract for deed” transactions extended by Harbour Portfolio. The complaint alleged that Harbour Portfolio, through both intentional targeting of African-American consumers and practices that have a foreseeable disparate impact on African-American consumers, violated the Fair Housing Act of 1968, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 3601, et seq., the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1691, et seq., and the Georgia Fair Housing Act, O.C.G.A. § 8-3-200 et seq. NCLC subsequently joined the case as plaintiffs’ co-counsel.

    On March 20, 3018, the Court denied a motion to dismiss for all but one of the claims asserted (wrongful eviction). Thereafter, during on-going discovery, including subpoenas issued to Fannie Mae, requests for production of documents by the defendants and depositions of the defendant principal, the parties engaged in mediation before a U.S. Magistrate Judge.
    The case settled in December, 2018. The 12 households who were still living in their homes received a deed converting their contract for deed to a mortgage with title insurance, reduced interest rates, shorter repayment terms and, in some cases, principal reductions. They also received a lump sum cash payment. The four households who were evicted/no longer living in the home received separate lump sum cash payments. As part of the settlement, separate attorneys’ fees were paid to plaintiffs’ counsel of record. (More information on land installment contracts including NCLC’s 2016 report, Toxic Transactions: How Land Installment Contracts Once Again Threaten Communities of Color, here)

Military Pensions

Mortgage Related Claims

HAMP Trial Period Plan (TPP) Contract Claims
  • Complaint against Bank for failure to honor its agreements with borrowers to modify mortgages and prevent foreclosures under the United States Treasury’s Home Affordable Modification Program (“HAMP”).
Mortgage Discrimination by Subprime Lenders

National class action cases brought under the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act against certain subprime mortgage lenders:

Mortgage Securitization Discrimination

Private Child Support Collection Agencie

Refund Anticipation Loan Cross Lender Debt Collection

Small Loans at High Cost

  • Chester v. Tancorde – Complaint and Class Action Settlement against small loan company for violations of TILA.
  • Tullie v. T & R Market – Complaint and Class Action Settlement against pawnbroker for TILA and state law violations
  • In re: Chase Bank USA, N.A. “Check Loan” Contract Litigation, Master Class Action Complaint

Student Loans

  • Bible v. United Student Aid Funds, Inc – Case Number 1:13-cv-00575, U.S. District Court, S.D. Indiana. A $23 Million dollar settlement was approved in this class action asserting that United Student Aid Funds, a non-profit guarantor for certain student loans, unlawfully imposed collection costs on student loan borrowers like Plaintiff. Plaintiffs’ contention was that the Higher Education Act, which is incorporated in the parties’ promissory note, provides that collection costs cannot be imposed if a borrower enters into a rehabilitation agreement within 60 days of default. Defendants argued that the applicable regulations should be interpreted to permit the imposition of such costs. The case had gone up to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, which in a split decision, reversed dismissal of the suit. USAF then filed a non-frivolous affirmative suit against DoE to strike down its favorable interpretation of the regulation on APA grounds. Nevertheless, mediation before a retired federal judge led to a favorable settlement for the class.
2019-04-10T11:07:35-05:00