Articles Posted in U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals

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In 1989, Seamans received a Federal Perkins Loan of $1,180.00 from Temple University. The first payment was due in 1992. The loan was declared delinquent the following month. Nonths later, Temple notified Seamans that the account had been placed for collection. In 2010, Seamans enrolled at Drexel University. He sought a Pell Grant, but Drexel refused to provide with financial assistance until Seamans repaid the Temple Loan. In 2011, Seamans repaid that loan in full. Seamans then noticed a “trade line” on his credit report. The trade line may or may not have appeared on his credit report when the account was in default. Seamans formally disputed some of the information by contacting the credit reporting agency. Temple, had its loan servicer investigate, but resubmitted information virtually unchanged. Seamans again contacted Temple and credit agencies, to dispute the trade line. After a second investigation, Temple modified certain elements, but still did not report various details. There was evidence that Temple treated other disputes in a similar manner. Seamans sued, alleging that Temple negligently or willfully violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 U.S.C. 1681–1681x. The district court granted Temple summary judgment, finding that the Higher Education Act, 20 U.S.C. 1001–1155, exempted Temple from FCRA compliance because the credit instrument was a Perkins Loan. The Third Circuit vacated, stating that Seamans’s dispute appears to have merit and that failure to report the dispute may constitute a material inaccuracy on his credit report. View "Seamans v. Temple University" on Justia Law

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In Chapter 11 liquidation of KB Toys Inc. and affiliated entities, the Residual Trustee of the KBTI Trust sought to disallow certain trade claims that ASM (a company in the business of purchasing bankruptcy claims) obtained from creditors. Under 11 U.S.C. 502(d) a claim can be disallowed if a claimant receives property that is avoidable or recoverable by the bankruptcy estate. The Bankruptcy Court disallowed the claims, concluding that a claims purchaser holding a trade claim is subject to the same 502(d) challenge as the original claimant. ASM was on “constructive notice” of potential preference actions, could have discovered the potential for disallowance with “very little due diligence,” and was not entitled to protection as a “good faith” purchaser. The district court and Third Circuit affirmed, holding that a trade claim that is subject to disallowance under502(d) in the hands of the original claimant is similarly disallowable in the hands of a subsequent transferee. View "In re: KB Toys Inc." on Justia Law

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The Simons filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection, identifying a nonpriority credit-card debt to FIA. FIA retained Weinstein, which sent the Simons a letter and notice through their bankruptcy counsel, stating that FIA was an adversary proceeding under 11 U.S.C. 523 to challenge dischargeability, but offering to forego the proceeding if the Simons stipulated that the debt was nondischargeable or agreed to a reduced amount. The letter stated that a Rule 2004 examination had been scheduled, but that Weinstein was open to settlement; it mentioned the possibility of rescheduling and set out information about challenging the debt. The subpoena certificate, signed by a Weinstein attorney, stated that a copy was mailed to the Simons’ home and their attorney’s office. The Simons allege that Weinstein did not actually send it to their home. Their counsel received copies. The Simons moved to quash, alleging violations of Bankruptcy Rule 9016 and Civil Rule 45 subpoena requirements, and filed an adversary proceeding asserting Fair Debt Collection Practices Act claims based on the letter. The Bankruptcy Court quashed the notices, but ruled that it lacked jurisdiction over the FDCPA claims. The Simons then sued FIA and Weinstein in the district court, which dismissed. The Third Circuit affirmed dismissal of 15 U.S.C 1692e(5) and (13) claims for allegedly failing to identify the recording method in the Rule 2004 examination and by issuing the subpoenas from a district other than where the examinations were to be held. The court also affirmed dismissal of a 1692e(11) claim because its mini-Miranda requirement conflicts with the Bankruptcy Code automatic stay. The court reversed dismissal of claims based failing to serve the subpoenas directly on the individuals and failing to include the text of Civil Rule 45(c)–(d) in the subpoenas. View "Simon v. FIA Card Servs., NA" on Justia Law

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Mortgage-backed securities, known as the MASTR Pass-Through Certificates, Series 2007-3, were offered to the public in 2007. UBS, the sponsor of the Certificates, purchased the underlying loans from originators, including Countrywide Home Loans and IndyMac Bank, then sold the loans to MASTR, which placed the loans into the MASTR Adjustable Rate Mortgages Trust, the issuer of the Certificates. UBS Securities, the underwriter, sold the Certificates to investors. The Certificates were issued pursuant to a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Form S-3 Registration Statement filed in 2005 and an SEC Form 424B5 Prospectus Supplement filed in 2007. Those documents assured investors that the underlying loans were originated pursuant to particular underwriting policies and in compliance with federal and state laws and regulations. The district court dismissed a purported class action by investors, alleging violations of the Securities Act of 1933, 15 U.S.C. 77, for failure to plead compliance with the one-year statute of limitations and dismissed an amended complaint as untimely under an inquiry notice standard. The Third Circuit affirmed, holding that a Securities Act plaintiff need not plead compliance with Section 13 and that Section 13 establishes a discovery standard for evaluating the timeliness of Securities Act claims, but the claims were, nonetheless, untimely. View "Pension Trust Fund for Operating Eng'rs v. Mortg. Asset Securitization Transactions, Inc." on Justia Law

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African-American and Hispanic borrowers under National City Bank mortgages, 2006-2007, sued, alleging violation of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. 3605, and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, 15 U.S.C. 1691, by an established pattern or practice of racial discrimination in the financing of home purchases. They cited National’s “Discretionary Pricing Policy,” under which brokers and loan officers could add a subjective surcharge of points, fees, and credit costs to an otherwise objective, risk-based rate, so that minority applicants were “charged a disproportionately greater amount in non-risk-related charges than similarly-situated Caucasian persons.” During discovery, National provided data on more than two million loans issued from 2001 to 2008. After mediation, the parties reached a proposed settlement: National did not concede wrongdoing, but would pay $7,500 to each named plaintiff, $200 to each class payee, $75,000 to two organizations for counseling and other services for the class, and $2,100,000 in attorneys’ fees. After granting preliminary approval and certification of the proposed class, the district court considered the Supreme Court’s 2011 decision, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes, and held that the class failed to meet Rule 23(a)’s commonality and typicality requirements and denied certification. The Third Circuit affirmed, noting that the proposed class is national, with 153,000 plaintiffs who obtained loans at more than 1,400 branches; significant disparity in one branch or region could skew the average, producing results indicating national disparity, when the problem may be more localized. View "Rodriguez v. Nat'l City Bank" on Justia Law

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The Sponsors formed West Run to construct and manage West Virginia University off-campus housing and retained CBRE to secure financing. CBRE provided prospective lenders with confidential information. Huntington’s predecessor loaned $39.975 million and construction began. A competing project (Copper Beach) was built across the street. West Run learned that Huntington had loaned $20 million for that project; West Run alleged that Huntington divulged to Copper Beach proprietary West Run information provided by CBRE. West Run‘s occupancy dropped from 95 percent to 64 percent. West Run sued, alleging that Huntington had breached its duty of good faith and fair dealing by financing Copper Beech. Two similar projects, involving the Sponsors, alleged breach of contract based on Huntington‘s failure to provide funds under their construction loan agreements. Huntington claimed that they had sold insufficient units to require Huntington to disburse additional funds under the agreements. The district court dismissed. The Third Circuit affirmed in part, holding that the complaint contained no corroborating facts that confidential information was disclosed and that no contract terms prohibited Huntington from lending to competitors. The court vacated with respect to the other projects for a chance to provide evidence showing that the pre-sale numbers in the original complaint were incorrect. View "W. Run Student Hous. v. Huntington Nat'l Bank" on Justia Law

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The Federal Trade Commission secured a judgment of $10,204,445 against Sussman and his co-defendants and equitable relief, based on abusive debt collection activities. Sussman subsequently entered a safe deposit box and removed coins that had been “frozen” in connection with the earlier action; he was then convicted of theft of government property, 18 U.S.C. 641, and obstruction of justice, 18 U.S.C. 1503(a) and sentenced to 41 months on each count, to be served concurrently, followed by three years of supervised release. The court also imposed a $15,000 fine and a $200 special assessment. The Third Circuit affirmed, rejecting a challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence and a clam that Sussman should be afforded a new trial because a portion of the trial transcript is unavailable, apparently because a court reporter lost the transcript. The court upheld the admission into evidence of redacted documents from the FTC’s prior civil case and jury instructions on the elements of obstruction of justice and Sussman’s theory of defense. View "United States v. Sussman" on Justia Law

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In 2007, Tellado heard a Spanish-language radio advertisement for mortgage refinancing, called the number, and spoke in Spanish to arrange refinancing of an existing mortgage. Bloom, a closing agent acting as a representative of IndyMac, conducted the closing at the Tellados’ home. The loan documents, including the notice of the right to cancel, were in English. Oral communications between Bloom and the Tellados, were conducted through the Tellados’ daughter, who served as an interpreter for verbal instructions and Bloom’s explanations of the loan documents. IndyMac subsequently failed and was placed in FDIC receivership. In 2009, the Tellados sent a notice of cancellation under Pennsylvania’s Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law, 73 P.S. 201-7. The district court held that IndyMac had failed to provide proper notice and that the three-day cancellation period had never begun; it ordered refund to the Tellados of all payments, termination of the security interest, and payment of a $10,000 penalty. The Third Circuit reversed; the claim is precluded by the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act, 12 U.S.C. 1821(d)(13)(D) because the claim is predicated upon an act or omission of IndyMac. Tellados failed to exhaust their administrative remedies under FIRREA. View "Tellado v. Indymac Mortg. Serv." on Justia Law

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The Sherzers obtained two loans secured by mortgages on their home: one for $705,000 and one for $171,000. The lender, Homestar, later assigned both to HSBC. Less than three years after the closing date the Sherzers wrote a letter to Homestar and HSBC, asserting that Homestar had failed to provide all disclosures required by Truth in Lending Act (TILA), 15 U.S.C. 1601 TILA. The letter claimed that these failures were material violations and that the Sherzers were exercising their right to rescind the loan agreements. HSBC agreed to rescind the smaller loan. The Sherzers filed suit, more than three years after their closing date, seeking a declaration of rescission. The district court dismissed the suit as untimely. The Third Circuit reversed. An obligor's right to rescind a loan pursuant to TILA "expire[s] three years after the date of consummation of the transaction or upon the sale of the property, whichever occurs first,"Hardiman 15 U.S.C. 1635(f). An obligor must send valid written notice of rescission before the three years expire; the statute says nothing about filing a suit within that three-year period. View "Sherzer v. Homestar Mortg. Servs." on Justia Law

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Southwest sells title reports to consumer lenders, containing information available in public records. Southwest’s reports include the owner’s name and address, marital status, and amounts of outstanding mortgages, liens or judgments against the property. Reports do not include social security numbers, payment history, previous addresses, employment information, birthdate, or outstanding account balances, as would typically appear in a credit report prepared by credit reporting agencies. Unlike a credit reporting company, Southwest endeavors to include only unsatisfied liens encumbering the property. Fuges had a $35,000 line of credit from PNC, secured by her home. In 2008, she applied for payment protection insurance; PNC ordered a credit report from a credit reporting agency and a property report from Southwest, which was arguably inaccurate concerning tax delinquency and a judgment lien. PNC initially denied her application, but later granted her request. Fuges filed a putative class action against Southwest, alleging violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 U.S.C. 1681-1681x. The district court dismissed many claims because she had not taken actions required by FCRA, then entered summary judgment for Southwest, reasoning that no reasonable jury could find willful violation of FCRA, because Southwest reasonably interpreted the statute as inapplicable. The Third Circuit affirmed. View "Fuges v. SW Fin. Serv., Ltd." on Justia Law