Articles Posted in Consumer Law

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The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment to defendants in a putative class action against American Honda Finance and other dealerships. Plaintiff alleged that defendants failed to provide add-ons that were promised in the Dealer Addendum when plaintiff bought his new Honda. The panel affirmed and held that the district court did not have subject matter jurisdiction over this action at the time of removal because the Class Action Fairness Act's home state exception barred the exercise of jurisdiction. However, the panel held that the district court had subject matter jurisdiction at the time it rendered a final decision on the merits, because plaintiff voluntarily amended his complaint to assert a federal Truth in Lending Act claim. On the merits, the panel held that the district court properly granted summary judgment to the dealership defendants and American Honda Finance. In this case, plaintiff had not demonstrated a genuine issue of material fact as to whether he was promised an add-on that he did not receive. The panel also held that the district court did not abuse its discretion by denying plaintiff's request for more time for discovery. View "Singh v. American Honda Finance" on Justia Law

Posted in: Consumer Law

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After plaintiff was denied housing due to disclosures appearing in a tenant screening report, he filed suit against TSP, alleging violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), California's Investigative Consumer Reporting Agencies Act (ICRAA), and California's Unfair Competition Law (UCL). The district court dismissed all but one cause of action and granted summary judgment on the remaining FCRA claim. The panel held that the district court erred by concluding that the ICRAA is unconstitutionally vague as applied to tenant screening applications; the panel was bound by the holding in Connor v. First Student, Inc., 423 P.3d 953 (Cal. 2018), that the ICRAA overlaps with the Consumer Credit Reporting Agencies Act, which forecloses TSP's argument that the statutory scheme in unconstitutionally vague; and thus the panel reversed and remanded for further proceedings. The panel remanded for the district court to decide whether plaintiff stated a UCL claim predicated on TSP's ICRAA violations. Finally, the panel held that the FCRA permits consumer reporting of a criminal charge for only seven years following the date of entry of the charge. In this case, the report's inclusion of a 2000 charge fell outside of the permissible seven year window. Therefore, plaintiff stated sufficient claims under the FCRA. View "Moran v. The Screening Pros, LLC" on Justia Law

Posted in: Consumer Law

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The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's order granting the Board's petition to enforce the law firm's compliance with the Board's civil investigative demand (CID) to respond to interrogatories and requests for documents. The panel held that the Board's structure was constitutionally permissible in light of Humphrey's Executor v. United States, 295 U.S. 602 (1935), and Morrison v. Olson, 487 U.S. 654 (1988). These cases indicate that the for-cause removal restriction protecting the Board's Director did not impede the President's ability to perform his constitutional duty to ensure that the laws are faithfully executed. The panel rejected the law firm's contention that the CID violated the Board's practice-of-law exclusion and held that one of the exceptions to the practice-of-law exclusion applied: 12 U.S.C. 5517(e)(3). Section 5517(e)(3) empowered the Board to investigate whether the law firm was violating the Telemarketing Sales Rule. Finally, the panel held that the CID complied with section 5562(c)(2). View "Consumer Financial Protection Bureau v. Seila Law LLC" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit reversed the district court's order granting summary judgment for USA Funds, holding that the district court incorrectly determined that a reasonable jury could not hold USA Funds vicariously liable for the debt collectors' alleged Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) violations. The panel held that USA Funds was not per se vicariously liable under FCC orders. However, the panel held that, under federal common law, there were genuine issues of material fact as to whether USA Funds ratified the debt collectors' calling practices and thus had a principal-agent relationship with the debt collectors. View "Henderson v. United Student Aid Funds, Inc." on Justia Law

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A prospective employer violates the Fair Credit Reporting Act's (FCRA) standalone document requirement by including extraneous information relating to various state disclosure requirements in that disclosure. The Ninth Circuit affirmed in part and vacated in part the district court's grant of summary judgment for defendants in a putative class action under the FCRA, alleging that defendants failed to make a proper FCRA disclosure and failed to make a proper disclosure under California's Investigative Consumer Reporting Agencies Act (ICRAA). The panel held that the district court erred by concluding that the standalone document requirements of FCRA and ICRAA were satisfied in this case, and that defendants' disclosure satisfied the FCRA and ICRAA requirements for conspicuousness but not for clarity. View "Gilberg v. California Check Cashing Stores, LLC" on Justia Law

Posted in: Consumer Law

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Fannie Mae is not a consumer reporting agency within the meaning of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). The Ninth Circuit reversed the district court's judgment in favor of plaintiffs in an action brought under the FCRA, alleging that Fannie Mae falsely communicated to potential mortgage lenders, via its proprietary software, called Desktop Underwriter, that plaintiffs had a prior foreclosure on a mortgage account. In light of the Federal Trade Commission's guidelines, the panel held that Fannie Mae was not a consumer reporting agency because it did not regularly engage in the practice of assembling or evaluating consumer information. Furthermore, Fannie Mae did not act with the purpose of furnishing consumer reports to third parties. The panel also vacated the award of attorney's fees and costs to plaintiffs. View "Zabriskie v. Federal National Mortgage Association" on Justia Law

Posted in: Consumer Law

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If a creditor fails to make required disclosures under the Truth in Lending Act (TILA), borrowers are allowed three years from the loan's consummation date to rescind certain loans. However, TILA does not include a statute of limitations outlining when an action to enforce such a rescission must be brought. The Ninth Circuit applied the analogous state law statute of limitations -- Washington's six year contract statute of limitations -- to TILA rescission enforcement claims. The panel held that plaintiff's TILA claim was timely under Washington's statute of limitations. In this case, the cause of action arose in May 2013 when the Bank failed to take any action to wind up the loan within 20 days of receiving plaintiff's notice of rescission. The panel also held that the district court improperly denied plaintiff leave to amend the complaint. View "Hoang v. Bank of America NA" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for the FTC, as well as a relief order, in an action alleging that a defendant's business practices violated section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act. Defendant offered high interest, short term payday loans through various websites that each included a Loan Note with the essential terms of the loan under the Truth in Lending Act (TILA). The panel held that the Loan Note was deceptive because it did not accurately disclose the loan's terms. Under the circumstances, the Loan Note was likely to deceive a consumer acting reasonably. The panel also held that the district court did not abuse its its discretion when calculating the amount it ordered defendant to pay. Finally, the district court did not err by entering a permanent injunction enjoining defendant from engaging in consumer lending. View "FTC V. AMG Capital Management, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit vacated the district court's grant of summary judgment to Crunch Fitness on plaintiff's claim that three text messages he received from Crunch violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). The panel held, in light of the DC Circuit's recent opinion in ACA International v. Federal Communications Commission, 885 F.3d 687 (D.C. Cir. 2018), and based on the panel's own review of the TCPA, that the statutory definition of automatic text messaging system includes a device that stores telephone numbers (ATDS) to be called, whether or not those numbers have been generated by a random or sequential number generator. Because the district court did not have the benefit of ACA International or the panel's construction of the definition of ATDS, the panel vacated and remanded for further proceedings. View "Marks v. Crunch San Diego, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act provides for class statutory damages not to exceed the lesser of $500,000 or 1 per centum of the net worth of the debt collector. The statute is silent as to which party bears the burden of introducing evidence at trial to establish the debt collector's net worth. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of a consumer class action under the FDCPA and held that plaintiff carried the burden of producing evidence at trial of the debt collector's net worth to establish entitlement to class statutory damages under the FDCPA. In this case, plaintiff had every opportunity to acquire evidence of defendant's net worth but failed to produce any competent evidence of this amount at trial. View "Tourgeman v. Nelson & Kennard" on Justia Law

Posted in: Consumer Law