Colorado Slams Door on MSAs

slamming-doorLast week, the Colorado Insurance Commissioner did directly what the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has been doing indirectly for over two years: he outlawed marketing services agreements (MSAs). Very narrow opportunities for collaborative marketing remain; other states may follow suit. Continue Reading

Nationstar Loses First Round in Bout Against PMI Class Action

Calendar-Circle-DateNational restrictions on private mortgage insurance (PMI) have been in place for almost 20 years, and most lenders and servicers rigorously follow them. But a recent decision from a Pennsylvania federal court suggests that some banks may have grown lax in that regard. Continue Reading

Secret Dealings Undermine Agreement to Pursue Title Company’s Insurer

secret-meeting-shadows_2In many lawsuits, the defendant’s only significant asset is its insurance policy, which may or may not cover a resulting judgment. That can lead to collusion in which the plaintiff and the defendant agree to a settlement that is collectible only against insurance proceeds. What could possibly go wrong, you ask? Plenty. Continue Reading

Rulings on Lender-Placed Insurance Shift in Industry’s Favor

tarotI can’t recall any decision in which a judge openly compared his job to that of a tarot card reader, but a federal jurist in Florida recently did exactly that—in the context of a class action over lender-placed insurance (LPI). The prediction at hand was whether the regional appellate tribunal, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, would accept or reject the filed-rate doctrine as a defense to LPI lawsuits. Continue Reading

Go Extra Mile to Prove Old, Lost Arbitration Agreements

digbackgroundFor now, individual arbitration is still a viable option for avoiding at least some class actions. But what do you do when the transaction for the would-be class representative is so old that you no longer have a copy of the arbitration agreement? A recent decision from a federal appellate court gives businesses guidance about proving the existence of now-discarded arbitration contracts. Continue Reading

Class-Action Trolls Covet Weak Spots in Your Filed Rates

flashlightIf your company must publically file its service rates, you should consider attacks that plaintiffs’ lawyers have launched against other fee schedules. Also, keep in mind ripple effects that market-conduct examinations can have. A recent decision from a California appellate court highlights these dangers. Continue Reading

Companies Face Difficult Narrative with Lender-Placed Insurance

shocked-businessman-reading-books-23742648The most critical part of any class-action defense is often the narrative. That is because a judge who believes that consumers have been cheated will often permit a class action to go forward, even if the case is otherwise questionable. Nowhere is that tendency more evident than in the wave of lender-placed insurance (“LPI”) lawsuits currently sweeping the country. Continue Reading

Real Estate Broker Defeats Class Liability for Allegedly Fraudulent Commission Fees

Howard HannaSeveral clients of a prominent Ohio real estate brokerage, who claimed they were cheated by having to pay both a percentage-based commission and a $225 administrative fee, recently lost their effort to certify a class action. The ruling offers other real estate businesses valuable guidance about avoiding potential class liability. Continue Reading

Class-Action Plaintiffs Fail to Secure Insurance Windfall

billy_goat_mdOne strategy companies can try when defending against potential class-action liability is to seek insurance protection, typically from an errors-and-omissions policy. If coverage is questionable and the insurer balks, a possible window opens: The insured could settle with the plaintiff and assign its policy rights to the class, which can then pursue the insurer. A recent decision in Illinois shows that this sort of three-billy-goats-guff strategy does not always succeed—at least for the class. Continue Reading