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Author: Nathan Baney


TILA, RESPA and FCRA . . . Oh my!

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Cole v. Federal National Mortgage Association, et al., 2017 WL 623465 (D. Md. February 13, 2017) The Plaintiff, Ms. Cole, brought a case against Fannie Mae and Severus alleging a number of claims under the Truth in Lending Act(TILA), the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act(RESPA), the Maryland Consumer Debt Collection Act(MCDCA), the Maryland Consumer Protection Act(MCPA), and the Fair Credit Reporting Act(FCRA). Unlike most pro se Plaintiffs, who generally strike out when throwing a bunch of these claims against the wall, Ms. Cole hits a home run on every one and it is impressive to see. In 2007, the Plaintiff and her late husband obtained a mortgage loan on the property from a non-party, Bank of America. Mr. Cole passed away in 2013 and Ms. Cole became the sole mortgagor of the property. Severus declared the loan in default in February of 2014 and mailed Ms. Cole a Notice of…Read More

Sovereign immunity applies to claims against the Government . . . Sometimes

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Robinson v. Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency, et al. 2017 WL 1277429 (D. Md. April 3, 2017) Plaintiff alleged that government student loans were fraudulently opened in his name and that he had only permitted Direct Loan to perform a credit check, not to open a loan account in his name. The parties dispute whether or not a “government or governmental subdivision or agency” in the definition of “person” includes the Department of Education, which is a federal agency. Under the doctrine of “sovereign immunities,” the United States is shielded from suit absent consent to be sued that is “unequivocally expressed.” United States v. Bormes, 133 S.Ct. 12, 16 (2012). A waiver of sovereign immunity cannot be implied and all ambiguities are resolved in favor of the Government. To date, neither the Supreme Court nor the Fourth Circuit has squarely ruled upon whether the FCRA waives sovereign immunity though the…Read More

Previous case establishing not inaccurate reporting by furnisher bars claim against CRA

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Alston v. TransUnion, LLC, 2017 WL 1628420 (D. Md. April 27, 2017) The Plaintiff, acting pro se, alleges that the CRA’s violated two provisions of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 U.S.C. 1681e(b) and 15 U.S.C. 1681i(a)(1). The Plaintiff alleges that the CRA’s erroneously relied on the bare, unsupported statements of the furnisher to report that the Plaintiff’s account was delinquent and continued to rely solely on the reporting by the furnisher, in this case, Wells Fargo. The court, citing Dalton v. Capital Assoc. Indus., Inc., 257 F.3d 409 (4th Cir. 2001), pointed out that the Fourth Circuit has interpreted Section 1681e to include an inaccuracy requirement, such that in order to establish a violation of Section 1681e, a plaintiff must show both (1) the consumer report contained in accurate information and (2) the reporting agency did not follow reasonable procedures to assure maximum possible accuracy. Additionally, the Court noted…Read More

Claim Against Furnisher Fails Unless dispute made

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Flax v. Navient Solutions, Inc., 2017 WL 1153889 (March 28, 2017 D. MD.) Judge Marvin J. Garbis Plaintiff checked his credit report and learned that his father had taken out three separate loans from Navient Solutions, Inc. In his name, without knowledge or consent of the Plaintiff by forging his signature. Included in the Plaintiffs Complaint was a Count for violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, Section 1681s-2(b). Under this section, those who furnish information to the credit reporting agencies have a responsibility to investigate the accuracy of reported information upon notice of a dispute. The Court cites the 4th Circuit opinion in Johnson v. MBNA Am. Bank, NA, 357 F.3d 426, 431 (4th Cir. 2004), which held that 1681s-2(b)(1) requires creditors, after receiving notice of a consumer dispute from a credit reporting agency, to conduct a reasonable investigation of their records to determine whether the disputed information can…Read More

Failure to pay mortgage does not releive mortgage companies of responsibilities under FCRA

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Mohamed v. Select Portfolio Servicing, Inc., et al, 215 F.Supp.3d 85 (Dist. D.C.) Mortgage was transferred among various servicers and various holders over the course of its life. The consumer/mortgagor, Mr. Mohamed, requested confirmation from his various servicers that they were entitled to payment on the note. Mr. Mohamed eventually stopped paying on the note (in fact, he didn’t make a payment for over five years), stating that his current servicer, EMC, had failed to establish it was the holder of the Note. Mr. Mohamed filed disputes with the credit reporting agencies (CRA’s) to dispute the delinquent reporting of the mortgage account. Chase, who was now the servicer, verified the account as accuratately reported as delinquent from April 2011 forward. After the dispute was sent, Chase sent a letter to Mr. Mohamed that Select Portfolio Servicing (SPS), Inc would be his new loan servicer. Mr. Mohamed again disputed the negative reporting of…Read More

Lost in Bank’s Computer System: Violation of Discharge Injunction

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Zombro v. SunTrust; AP No. 06 – 1166; April 14, 2008 This case involved a credit card account and a deed of trust at SunTrust bank. The first legal issue the court addressed was whether or not the debtor would be allowed to amend their complaint against the bank. To this the court decided that “Under the notice pleading approach adopted in Federal Rule of Bankruptcy Procedure 7008, the bank had sufficient notice both of the claim (violation of the discharge injunction) and the remedy (attorney’s fees) sought by the debtors as well as supporting allegations of fact. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2), made applicable by Fed.R.Bankr.P. 7008(a); Erickson v. Pardus, 127 S.Ct. 2197, 2200 (2007) (“Specific facts are not necessary; the statement need only ‘give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.’”) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted).” The…Read More

No excuse not to have credit counseling course

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In re Houston; Case No. 08-11848; April 11th, 2008 The debtor in this case filed a Chapter 13 without yet having the necessary credit counseling certificate. Instead of this certificate, she filed a certification of exigent circumstances stating that she will be evicted without the court’s protection. The court cites Bankruptcy Code §109(h)(3)(A) which allows the credit counseling requirement to be waived if the debtor submits to the court a certification that (1) “describes exigent circumstances that merit a waiver” of the credit counseling requirement; (2) “states that the debtor requested credit counseling services from an approved nonprofit budget and credit counseling agency, but was unable to obtain the services . . . during the 5-day period beginning on the date on which the debtor made that request,” and (3)”is satisfactory to the court.” Id. The court reasons that though an impending eviction would generally qualify as an exigent circumstance,…Read More

Bankruptcy and Virginia Corporate Law

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In re Cummings; Case No. 07-13758-SSM; April 10th, 2008 Lawsuit brought in bankruptcy case highlights core aspects of Virginia corporate law Individual debtor filed a Chapter 11 under the bankruptcy code to reorganize her debts. The debtor then brought an action for breach of contract arising from the sale of a business, a declaratory judgment that salary repayment and non-compete provisions in an employment agreement she signed are unenforceable, and damages for breach of fiduciary duty. The court restated the standard for summary judgment that it was going to use. Importantly, the court noted that “the Supreme Court has held that a plaintiff need not plead evidence sufficient to establish a prima facia case in order to survive a motion to dismiss, but under Rule 8(a), need only give the defendant fair notice of what the plaintiff’s claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.” Swierkiewicz v. Sorena NA,…Read More

Notice of Bankruptcy Case

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In re US Airways, Inc.; Case No. 04-13819-SSM; March 27th, 2008 In a chapter 11 case, a debtor that continues in business following confirmation of a plan or reorganization is discharged from all debts arising prior to confirmation. 11 U.S.C. § 1141(d). However, before such a claim can be discharged, creditors must be afforded adequate notice of the bankruptcy case, as well as of the deadline set for filing claims against the debtor. Zurich American Ins. Co. v. Tessler (In re J.A. Jones, Inc.), 492 F.3d 242, 249(4th Cir. 2007). They type of notice that is required depends on whether a creditor is “known” or “unknown.” Creditors whose identities are actually known to the debtor or are reasonably ascertainable by the debtor are deemed to be “known creditors” and are entitled to actual notice of the bankruptcy filing. An “unknown creditor,” by contrast, is one whose identity or claim is…Read More