CFPB files amicus brief in well-known Edwards v. First American kickback case

On Monday this week, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau(CFPB) files amicus brief in well-known Edwards v. First American kickback case. From the CFPB website – This case concerns the types of evidence a private plaintiff needs to put forward to demonstrate that a defendant paid for a referral in violation of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA). The Bureau filed a brief arguing that, when a referral agreement is entered into as part of a transaction involving the sale of ownership interests, a plaintiff could prove that the defendant paid for the referral without necessarily showing that the defendant overpaid for those ownership interests. The brief also argued that, when a plaintiff receives multiple referrals to the same settlement provider, the plaintiff is not required to prove that the unlawful referral was the one that influenced the plaintiff’s decision to select that provider.   Click here for...

The Edwards Decision

06-28-2012 Yesterday, the United States Supreme Court (“SCOTUS”) issued its long-awaited decision in the Edwards v. First American Title case.  The Court, in a 9-0 decision, dismissed First American’s appeal as having been improvidently granted. Procedurally, the decision results in the case returning to the U.S. District Court in California where a class action complaint consisting of two separate classes of plaintiffs awaits and now proceeds in earnest against First American. Substantively, the case permits future individual plaintiffs to sue under RESPA without having to establish that they were damaged or over-charged for their settlement services.  The Ninth Circuit holding in Edwards allows such cases to proceed and mirrors similar rulings in the Sixth and Third Circuits. NAILTA filed two “friend-of-the-court” briefs — one at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and one at the SCOTUS — on behalf of the respondent, Denise Edwards. In her complaint, Edwards alleged that First American violated RESPA by creating an illegal referral arrangement with its title agent in Cleveland, Ohio.  Edwards did not allege that she was overcharged for her title services.  Rather, she alleged that the title underwriter violated the law that prohibits such arrangements. The SCOTUS decision essentially leaves the Ninth Circuit holding in place. NAILTA’s President, Charles Proctor, issued this statement in response to the SCOTUS ruling: “This decision opens the door to returning the integrity and transparency to the settlement process and the professionalism that independent land title agents bring to that process. This will lead to a quality product for the consumer at a competitive  price without giant entities controlling the market, the product, and the settlement process. We look...

Edwards v. First American case decision on Thursday, June 28, 2012

The U.S. Supreme Court announced today that it will announce its decision in the Edwards v. First American case and the health care cases on Thursday, June 28, 2012 at 10am.  We will have a copy of the decision and some thoughts on its impact at that time.  To follow the decision, please visit SCOTUSblog at http://www.scotusblog.com/ Also, for those interested, the attorneys who represent Denise Edwards at the U.S. Supreme Court will be speaking at the NAILTA conference on October 2, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland.  For more information, please visit www.nailta.org.  Stay tuned to Thursday’s...

NAILTA Files Amicus Brief in U.S. Supreme Court

NAILTA has filed an amicus brief in the Edwards v. First American case currently pending before the United States Supreme Court.  Oral arguments in the case will be heard in Washington, DC on November 28, 2011.  NAILTA filed the brief in support of Denise Edwards, a real estate consumer who closed a mortgage transaction with First American and its captive agent, Tower City Title Agency, in Cleveland, Ohio. NAILTA Amicus - Edwards v. First...