Christopher J. Willis

Christopher J. Willis

Ballard Spahr LLP

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Latest Publications


ABA Consumer Financial Services Panel Highlights the Challenges of Serving Consumers in non-English Languages

On September 17, I had the opportunity to speak on a panel at the American Bar Association’s Consumer Financial Services Committee meeting in Chicago (which was held as a part of the ABA Business Law Section Annual Meeting),...more

9/23/2015 - American Bar Association CFPB Fair Lending Financial Institutions Financial Sector Financial Services Industry UDAAP

Limited Liability Company Can Sue as “Person” Under FDCPA, Sixth Circuit Rules

A limited liability company is a “person” that can file a lawsuit under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has ruled. In Anarion Investments LLC v. Carrington...more

8/14/2015 - Appeals Civil Liability Debt Collectors FDCPA Financial Institutions Financial Services Industry Foreclosure FTC Homeowners Limited Liability Companies LLC Mortgage Lenders Mortgage Servicers Mortgages

New York City Can Regulate Attorney Debt Collection Conduct, Second Circuit Rules

New York City can regulate the conduct of attorneys engaged in debt collection, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has ruled. In Eric M. Berman, P.C. and Lacy Katzen, LLP v. City of New York, et al., the...more

8/10/2015 - Consumer Financial Contracts Debt Collection Debt Collectors Licensing Rules Popular Preemption Young Lawyers

Envelope’s Display of Bar Code With Embedded Account Number Violates FDCPA, Federal Court Rules

A federal court in Pennsylvania has ruled that a debt collector violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) by sending a collection letter in an envelope that allegedly revealed a barcode in which the plaintiff’s...more

7/29/2015 - Debt Collection Debt Collectors FDCPA Financial Services Industry Motion to Dismiss

11th Circuit: Representations by Attorneys in Debt Collection-Related Court Filings Actionable Under FDCPA

In Miljkovic v Shafritz & Dinkin, 2015 WL 3956570, a panel of the 11th Circuit held that representations made by an attorney in required court filings during the course of debt collection litigation can be actionable under...more

7/24/2015 - Creditors Debt Collection FDCPA First Impression Pleading Standards Pleadings

Maryland Appeals Court Declines to Adopt “Meaningful Attorney Involvement” Standard

The Maryland Court of Special Appeals recently declined to adopt the “meaningful attorney involvement” standard for Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) claims based on alleged insufficient attorney involvement in debt...more

7/24/2015 - Appeals Claim Preclusion Collateral Estoppel Debt Buyers Debt Collection Debtors FDCPA Midland Funding Res Judicata

Divided U.S. Supreme Court Holds Disparate Impact Claims Cognizable Under FHA, but Subject to Safeguards Against Abusive Disparate...

A sharply divided U.S. Supreme Court announced its decision in Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project, Inc., on June 25, 2015, holding that disparate impact claims are...more

7/1/2015 - Affordable Housing Disparate Impact Fair Housing Act FHA SCOTUS Texas Dept of Housing v Inclusive Communities

CFPB Finalizes Rule to Supervise Nonbank Auto Finance Companies, Releases Auto Finance Examination Procedures for Banks, Nonbanks

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has issued a final rule allowing it to supervise nonbank companies that qualify as “larger participants of a market for automobile financing.” Relatedly, it adopted simultaneously a...more

6/12/2015 - Auto Lease Automotive Industry Automotive Loans Car Dealerships CFPB Consumer Financial Products Consumer Lenders Final Rules Market Participants Nonbank Firms

Focal points for banks and nonbanks in the CFPB’s new auto finance exam procedures

Wednesday, the CFPB finalized its larger participant rule for nonbank auto finance companies, making them subject to supervision after the effective date of the rule. But the Bureau’s press release and newly-released auto...more

6/12/2015 - Automotive Loans Banks CFPB Consumer Lenders Industry Examinations Nonbank Firms

State AG – Credit Bureaus Settlement: What Furnishers Need to Know - More than 30 state attorneys general reached a settlement...

Last week, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine issued a press release announcing the results of a multi-state investigation into the three national credit reporting agencies (CRAs) - Equifax Information Services LLC, Experian...more

5/29/2015 - CFPB Credit Reporting Agencies Credit Reports Debt Buyers Debt Collection Equifax Experian FCRA TransUnion

Second Circuit Rules FDCPA Does Not Require Disclosure of Settlement’s Tax Consequences

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has ruled that the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) does not require a debt collector to disclose the possible tax consequences of a debtor’s acceptance of a...more

5/26/2015 - Appeals Debt Collectors FDCPA Income Taxes

Ninth Circuit Rules FDCPA and California Law Do Not Prohibit Collection Letter Seeking Prejudgment Interest

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit recently ruled that a debt collection letter seeking prejudgment interest on the debt did not violate the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) or California’s Rosenthal...more

5/20/2015 - Appeals Debt Collection FDCPA Prejudgment Interest

U.S. Supreme Court To Decide If Statutory Damages Are Recoverable Even Without Any Actual Harm

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear an important case that will decide whether a plaintiff who cannot show any actual harm from a violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) nevertheless has standing under Article...more

4/28/2015 - Article III FCRA Imminent Harm Putative Class Actions SCOTUS Spokeo v Robins Standing Statutory Damages

U.S. Department of Education Fines College for Job Placement Rate Disclosure Violations

The U.S. Department of Education (Department) intends to fine a college more than $29 million for allegedly misrepresenting job placement rates and failing to comply with federal placement rate disclosure requirements. The...more

4/21/2015 - Administrative Fines Colleges Department of Education Disclosure Requirements Misrepresentation Title IV

Washington State AG Sues Student Loan Debt Adjustment Firm

The Washington State Attorney General recently filed an action in state court against a student loan debt adjustment firm and its individual principal alleging that the firm charged illegal fees and failed to provide required...more

4/16/2015 - Attorney Generals Consumer Protection Act Debt-Relief Industry Disclosure Requirements Enforcement Actions Student Loans Transaction Fees

Third Circuit Rules FDCPA Claims Can Be Based on Foreclosure Complaints

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit recently ruled that foreclosure complaints can be the basis of Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) claims. This decision continues the Third Circuit's expansive...more

4/10/2015 - Appeals Attorney's Fees FDCPA Fees Foreclosure Mortgage Lenders Mortgages Putative Class Actions

‘Operation Ruse Control’ Announcement Highlights Importance of Auto Finance Compliance

The Federal Trade Commission—and numerous other federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies in the United States and Canada—recently announced that an enforcement initiative dubbed “Operation Ruse Control” has resulted...more

4/1/2015 - Automotive Industry Automotive Loans Car Dealerships Consumer Financial Products Consumer Lenders Enforcement Actions FTC Strategic Enforcement Plan

CFPB’s Claims under CFPA Survive Legal Challenges, but TILA Claim Is Time-Barred

In a civil action brought by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau involving student loans, an Indiana federal court recently granted in part and denied in part a motion to dismiss by ITT Educational Services, Inc. The...more

3/20/2015 - CFPB First Impression For Profit Education Itt Educational Services Statute of Limitations Student Loans TILA

FTC Issues 2014 Complaints Report

The Federal Trade Commission received more than 2.5 million consumer complaints in 2014, according to its newly released Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book. The annual report provides national and state-by-state data on...more

3/13/2015 - Annual Reports CFPB Consumer Complaint System FTC

U.S. Supreme Court to Decide Whether ECOA Applies to Loan Guarantors

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to review whether the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) applies to loan guarantors. The case will be argued in the Supreme Court’s term that begins in October 2015....more

3/5/2015 - ECOA Guarantors Hawkins v Community Bank of Raymore Regulation B SCOTUS

New York Federal Court Denounces Debtor’s Attempt To Induce FDCPA Violation

A New York federal district court recently issued a strong denunciation of the practice of debtors attempting to induce debt collectors into committing violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). Finding...more

2/26/2015 - Audio Recording Debt Collection FDCPA Federal Rules of Civil Procedure

New York Issues Guidance on New Third-Party Debt Collector and Debt Buyer Regulations

The New York Department of Financial Services has issued guidance about its new Third-Party Debt Collector and Debt Buyer Regulations in the form of Frequently Asked Questions (“FAQs”). The FAQs provide insight on the scope...more

2/23/2015 - Debt Buyers Debt Collectors New Guidance NYDFS

Feds Obtain First-Ever Settlement over Allegedly Discriminatory ‘Buy Here, Pay Here’ Car Dealership Financing

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the North Carolina Department of Justice recently requested court approval of a consent decree arising out of alleged racial discrimination by two North Carolina car dealerships in...more

2/16/2015 - Car Dealerships Discrimination DOJ Equal Access to Credit Predatory Lending Race Discrimination Racial Discrimination

Third Time Is the Charm: U.S. Supreme Court Hears Argument in Disparate Impact Case

The U.S. Supreme Court recently heard oral argument in Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project, Inc.—the case presenting the issue of whether disparate impact claims are...more

1/29/2015 - Age Discrimination DHCA v Inclusive Communities Project Disparate Impact FHA HUD LIHTC Oral Argument Public Housing Authorities Racial Discrimination SCOTUS

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