One of the more surprising developments in the law of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act is the fledgling success of the continuing-violations doctrine, which allows claims to be brought long after the initial statute of limitations has expired. A new decision from a Pennsylvania federal court suggests that the doctrine isn’t going away any time soon.
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For the past five years, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has accused a Kentucky law firm, Borders & Borders, of paying illegal kickbacks. Last week, the judge presiding over the lawsuit threw out the CFPB’s case—for a second time—on grounds different than before. The ruling could be a boon for affiliated business arrangements.
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Members of the real estate industry have been celebrating the most recent federal-court ruling involving PHH Corporation. That decision seems to expand a RESPA safe harbor for services actually performed. But that ruling, while appearing to favor the industry, could cause as many problems as it solves.
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To class action lawyers, the much maligned Maryland title agency Genuine Title, LLC, has been a gift many times over. That one company has spawned eight class actions and two public enforcement cases. But, after four years of exhaustive litigation, the federal judge presiding over the class lawsuits has finally thrown them out.

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This past week, the real estate industry was rocked again by the latest development in the epic court battle between PHH Corporation and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Many observers predict that the U.S. Supreme Court will weigh in on the matter. When I consulted my Magic Eight Ball about that, it responded, “Very Doubtful.”
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Last week, Mick Mulvaney, the acting director of Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, emailed his staff and explained his vision for the agency. His plan amounts to this: we’ll vigorously penalize those who cross a bright red line of legality—but leave everyone else alone.
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