WHO WE ARE
Stradley Ronon’s mortgage & lending litigation practice represents clients in litigation involving nearly every type of consumer and commercial financial product. We regularly appear in both state and federal courts in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia.
We frequently handle individual, class and multi-district litigation involving a variety of state and federal laws, including TILA and Regulation Z, HOEPA, RESPA, FCRA, FDCPA, TCPA, ECOA, UCC, EFTA and UDAP statutes. We also handle contested foreclosure litigation, including claims for fraud and predatory lending, loan rescission, and standing challenges. Our team has extensive experience representing clients in litigation involving claims of credit discrimination, title insurance and lien priority disputes, and tax lien resolution. We also counsel clients on regulatory and enforcement matters.
WHY WE ARE DIFFERENT
We provide high-quality, responsive and cost-effective representation for our clients. Our value proposition is to resolve every matter, no matter the size of the engagement, in a cost-effective and efficient manner. We emphasize early case assessment to help determine at the outset of a case whether there is an opportunity for an early resolution. If litigation is necessary, our team possesses broad industry knowledge and seasoned trial skills. Our goal is to manage any litigation in the way that will best achieve your business objectives.
We emphasize regular client communications because we believe that the case is your case – you should not have to wonder what may be happening in the litigation, and you should have the information you need to make informed decisions. We also make it a priority to identify potential institutional issues so that we can assist you in managing risk and avoiding litigation in the future.
In this fast-paced regulatory environment, we keep abreast of changes in the law, and we frequently publish and speak on the impact of these laws on the financial services industry. We invest in industry conferences and education programs, both internal and external, so our team is up-to-date on the current trends in the law and understands your business.
INDUSTRIES WE SERVE
Our clients include national and regional financial institutions, including banks, credit unions, credit card issuers, mortgage originators and servicers, auto finance companies, student lenders and servicers, debt collectors and buyers, and short-term lenders.
Mortgage Origination and Servicing – Our team is experienced in handling all facets of litigation arising out of the origination and servicing of residential mortgages, including:
- Contested Foreclosures. We have a significant contested foreclosure practice in which we respond to counter-claims and defenses raised by borrowers, including fraud and predatory lending, violations of TILA, RESPA, HOEPA, ECOA and state UDAP statutes. We also regularly respond to challenges to foreclosure based on an alleged lack of standing to enforce the note and mortgage. We also routinely defend lenders and servicers when borrowers assert these challenges as separate lawsuits in state and federal courts.
- Lien Priority Disputes. Our team has also successfully resolved some of the more intractable problems in foreclosures and resulting ejectments. We are experienced in lien priority disputes between lenders as well as property title disputes, and we pursue title insurance claims as necessary to achieve our clients’ goals to resolve these disputes.
- Tax Sales. We are well-versed in working with mortgage servicers and the appropriate taxing authorities when tax lien disputes arise from the servicing of mortgage loans. These workouts may include filing petitions to set aside tax sales, redeeming the property, pursuing titles claims re-acquiring lost property, and negotiating other creative solutions.
- Lending Discrimination. Our attorneys appear before the federal and state commissions and courts concerned with claims of lending discrimination based on race and other protected classes, including those arising from state and federal Fair Housing Acts, and have dealt with discrimination claims arising from both consumer and commercial loans. We also defend ECOA claims arising from denials of credit, such as a dismissal in Pettineo v Harleysville National Bank & Trust Co. in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. We have successfully defended numerous claims of alleged “predatory lending” discrimination and “reverse redlining” before the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission.
- Foreclosure Counseling. We counsel clients in their foreclosure practices to prevent problems before they arise. For example, we have worked with servicers to over-haul foreclosure affidavits, acceleration and default notices, and document management practices. We have also conducted training for our clients on best practices for affidavit review and notarization.
Auto Financing – Our auto finance experience ranges from defending individual and class action suits that present a wide variety of claims, including:
- claims against auto finance companies arising under the FTC Holder Rule based on alleged underlying dealer fraud or misconduct;
- class actions involving allegedly defective repossession and deficiency notices under the UCC;
- claims seeking to impute wrongdoing by the repossession agent on the auto finance company; and
- claims brought under the FCRA based on credit reporting by the auto finance company.
We also have experience in enforcing arbitration agreements contained in retail installment sales contracts and in assisting auto finance companies in recovering collateral through replevin and related causes of action. We also counsel banks and auto finance companies to ensure that their collection notices and correspondence with consumers comply with relevant state and federal laws.
Retail Banking – Our financial services litigators have considerable experience representing and advising banks and credit unions in disputes concerning checks and debit card processing, wire transfers, checks by phone and remotely created checks, return items, and deposit accounts. We regularly handle claims involving check fraud, negligently opened accounts, ATM fee notifications, and other servicing issues brought under Articles 3, 4 and 4A of the UCC, the ETFA and Regulation E. We also counsel retail banking clients in responding to subpoenas, garnishment proceedings, and complying with the FCRA and other consumer finance laws.
Credit Cards – We defend credit card companies in individual, class and multi-district litigation brought under a variety of consumer protection laws. We frequently handle cases arising under TILA and Regulation Z, TCPA, FDCPA and state law equivalents, FCRA, FCBA, and ECOA. We have experience defending putative class action claims brought against credit card issuers based on payment protection programs. We have experience in enforcing arbitration agreements contained in credit card agreements.
Debt Collection Practices – Our team has significant experience representing debt collectors and purchasers in both individual and class actions involving alleged violations of state and federal law. The types of claims we frequently defend include claims brought under the federal Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA) and state equivalents, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), state UDAP statutes and other consumer protection and privacy laws. Claims often arise in connection with communications with debtors, the collections process, and the assumption of accounts by debt buyers. We give advice and counsel clients to ensure that all written and oral communications with debtors are in compliance with the law.
Commercial Lending – Stradley Ronon is well-experienced in litigation arising out of commercial lending disputes. We have handled cases arising out of troubled loans, enforcement of personal property and real estate liens, intercreditor disputes, and pursuit of temporary restraining orders and other emergency protections in fraud and related matters.
We also have a significant commercial lender-liability defense practice. Matters in this area often arise in connection with alleged fraudulent conveyances, alleged wrongful denial of credit, environmental exposures, asset recovery and foreclosures, and allegations of discrimination in lending. In addition, we have handled various claims falling under the general category of “lender liability,” including claims for fraud in the inducement, breach of fiduciary duty, tortious interference with contractual relations, conversion, breach of contract, and negligent misrepresentation. Our attorneys have been involved in many different theories against lenders, including the successful defense through judgment and appeal of claims of improper underwriting criteria for a commercial loan, and claims of bad-faith negotiations during loan workouts.
Privacy Issues – Technology innovations make it easier to collect, monitor, and process personal information about individuals. Any financial institution that possesses and maintains consumer or employee information must have appropriate measures in place to protect this data. In this developing area, we assist our clients in understanding and complying with various laws and standards regarding the collection, storage, and protection of personal information. Moreover, we assist clients in those instances where the financial institution suffers a data breach, guiding the client in the proper steps needed to respond. And when litigation is filed alleging claims for damages as a result of such breaches, we are prepared to defend such claims.