Justia U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Consumer Law
Gilberg v. California Check Cashing Stores, LLC
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
Zabriskie v. Federal National Mortgage Association
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
Hoang v. Bank of America NA
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
FTC V. AMG Capital Management, LLC
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
Marks v. Crunch San Diego, LLC
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
Tourgeman v. Nelson & Kennard
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
True Health Chiropractic, Inc. v. McKesson Corp.
The district court denied class certification to a class of plaintiffs who allegedly received unsolicited faxed advertisements from McKesson between September 2009 and May 2010, in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of class certification with respect to a possible subclass of the putative class members with the fifty-five unique fax numbers in Exhibit C; reversed the district court's holding that the other possible subclasses cannot satisfy the predominance requirement of Rule 23(b)(3); held that the subclass of putative class members with 9,223 unique fax numbers that would be created by taking out of Exhibit A the putative class members listed in Exhibits B and C would satisfy the predominance requirement of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(b)(3); remanded for a determination by the district court whether the claims and defenses applicable to some or all of the class of putative class members with 2,701 unique fax numbers listed in Exhibit B would satisfy the predominance requirement of Rule 23(b)(3); and remanded to allow the district court to address the requirements of Rule 23(a). View "True Health Chiropractic, Inc. v. McKesson Corp." on Justia Law
Dutta v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co.
The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of State Farm in an action alleging violations of procedural requirements under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Specifically, plaintiff alleged that State Farm was required to provide a job applicant with a copy of his consumer credit report, notice of his FCRA rights, and an opportunity to challenge inaccuracies in the report. The panel held that plaintiff waived any challenge to the admissibility of a declaration, which was the only source of admissible proof as to why plaintiff's credit report would have disqualified him from acceptance in the Agency Career Track program. The panel also held that plaintiff lacked Article III standing because he failed to show how the specific violation of 15 U.S.C. 1681b(b)(3)(A) alleged in the complaint actually harmed or presented a material risk of harm to him. View "Dutta v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co." on Justia Law
McNair v. Maxwell & Morgan PC
Plaintiff bought a Gilbert, Arizona home in 2004. She was required to pay the Community Association an annual assessment in monthly installments. Defendants notified Plaintiff in 2009 of her failure to pay a debt arising out of the assessment. Defendants represented the Association in suing Plaintiff. After Plaintiff defaulted on a payment agreement, Defendants revived the lawsuit and obtained a default judgment. The parties agreed to a new payment plan and to execute a stipulated judgment against Plaintiff that recognized the Association’s right to collect the debt by selling Plaintiff’s home. Plaintiff failed to make the required payments. The Maricopa Superior Court granted a writ of special execution for foreclosure on Plaintiff’s house. The property was sold for $75,000 at a foreclosure sale, and Defendants received $11,600.13 in satisfaction of the debt, including attorneys’ fees and costs. The district court rejected Plaintiff’s claim that Defendants violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act by misrepresenting the amount of Plaintiff’s debt and seeking attorneys’ fees to which they were not entitled. The Ninth Circuit reversed. Defendants’ effort to collect homeowner association fees through judicial foreclosure constitutes “debt collection” under the Act, 15 U.S.C. 1692a(5). In Arizona, requests for post-judgment attorneys’ fees must be made in a motion to the court. No court had yet approved the quantification of the “accruing” attorneys’ fees claimed by Defendants; Defendants falsely represented the legal status of this debt. View "McNair v. Maxwell & Morgan PC" on Justia Law
Hodsdon v. Mars, Inc.
California consumer protection laws do not obligate Mars, Inc. to label their goods as possibly being produced by child or slave labor. In the absence of any affirmative misrepresentations by the manufacturer, the manufacturer did not have a duty to disclose the labor practices in question, even though they were reprehensible, because they were not physical defects that affected the central function of the chocolate products. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of a putative class action alleging that Mars had a duty to disclose on its labels the labor practices that may have tainted its supply chain. In this pure omissions case concerning no physical product defect relating to the central function of the chocolate and no safety defect, the panel held that plaintiff has not sufficiently pleaded that Mars had a duty to disclose on its labels the labor issues in its supply chain. Absent such a duty, plaintiff's claims under the Consumers Legal Remedies Act, Unfair Competition Law, and False Advertising Law claims were foreclosed. View "Hodsdon v. Mars, Inc." on Justia Law