Christopher J. Willis

Christopher J. Willis

Ballard Spahr LLP

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Industry Trade Groups Renew Challenge to HUD Disparate Impact Rule

Two industry trade associations whose members sell homeowners insurance have been granted leave to file an amended complaint in their lawsuit challenging the Fair Housing Act (FHA) disparate impact rule (Rule) adopted by the...more

4/22/2016 - Administrative Procedure Act Affordable Housing Disparate Impact Fair Housing Act (FHA) Homeowner's Insurance Motion to Amend Race Discrimination SCOTUS Texas Dept of Housing v Inclusive Communities

FTC Highlights FDCPA Risks for Debt Collectors Using Social Media, Texts

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently published a reminder to debt collectors of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) compliance risks that are created by the use of social media or text messages in connection...more

4/1/2016 - Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) Cell Phones CFPB Corporate Counsel Debt Collection Debt Collectors Facebook FDCPA FTC Popular Risk Management Social Media TCPA Text Messages

Loan Guarantors Are Not ''Applicants'' under ECOA, Equally Divided U.S. Supreme Court Affirms

An equally divided U.S. Supreme Court has affirmed the Eighth Circuit's decision in Hawkins v. Community Bank of Raymore, which upheld a federal district court ruling that the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) does not...more

3/28/2016 - Banking Sector ECOA Guarantors Hawkins v Community Bank of Raymore Regulation B SCOTUS Spousal Guaranty

NY DFS Brings First Data Security Action

The New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) has announced that it has entered into a consent order with an online payday loan lead generator and its chief executive officer (CEO) (collectively, respondents) to...more

3/25/2016 - Consent Order Consumer Financial Products Corporate Counsel Data Security Notification Requirements NYDFS Online Marketplace Lending Payday Loans Personally Identifiable Information Popular Usury

FTC Gets 3 Million Consumer Complaints in 2015

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) received more than 3 million consumer complaints in 2015 with debt collection topping the list, according to its newly released Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book. The annual report, which...more

3/8/2016 - CFPB Consumer Complaint Database Corporate Counsel Debt Collection FTC Identity Theft Sweepstakes Telecommunications

Voicemail Messages on Debtor's Phone Did Not Violate FDCPA, Federal Court Rules

A debt collector did not violate the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) by leaving a voicemail message on a cell phone shared by the debtor with her boyfriend because it was not reasonably foreseeable that he would...more

2/23/2016 - Cell Phones Corporate Counsel Debt Collection FDCPA Voicemail

Court: Debt Collector's Implicit Suggestion that Consumer Should Make Payment Within Dispute Period Violates FDCPA

A debt collector's implicit suggestion that a consumer should make a payment before the end of the 30-day dispute period violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), a federal court in Missouri has ruled. In...more

2/22/2016 - Debt Collectors FDCPA Summary Judgment

DOJ Settles Action Alleging Bank Discriminated Against Disability Income Recipients

The U.S. Department of Justice recently entered into a consent order with Evolve Bank & Trust to settle charges that the bank discriminated against mortgage loan applicants on the basis of disability and receipt of public...more

2/3/2016 - Banking Sector Consent Order Disability Discrimination DOJ ECOA Fair Housing Act (FHA) Mortgage Lenders Qualified Settlement Funds

University Faces Action for Alleged Deceptive Advertising of Graduates' Employment, Earning Prospects

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has filed a complaint in a California federal district court against the operators of DeVry University in which it alleges that DeVry violated the FTC Act by misrepresenting the employment...more

1/29/2016 - Department of Education False Advertising Federal Student Aid FTC FTC Act Higher Education Act Hiring Statistics Misrepresentation Title IV Universities

FTC Announces ''Operation Collection Protection'' Developments

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has announced new developments in ''Operation Collection Protection,'' its new coordinated federal-state enforcement initiative targeting unlawful debt collection practices. The U.S....more

1/16/2016 - Attorney Generals CFPB Debt Collection DOJ Enforcement Actions FDCPA FTC FTCA

FTC Proposes Survey of Consumer Experience in Financing Auto Purchases through Dealers

The Federal Trade Commission has announced plans to conduct a survey of consumers regarding their experiences in buying and financing automobiles at dealerships. According to the supplementary information in the notice...more

1/6/2016 - Automotive Loans Car Dealerships CFPB ECOA FTC Surveys Truth in Lending Act (TILA)

Is Online Lead Generation Inherently Deceptive?

This post is the third in a series we’re writing on the FTC’s workshop on online lead generation entitled Follow the Lead. In our first post, we explored how online lead generation works. In our second, we covered the role...more

12/11/2015 - CFPB FTC Lead Generators Online Platforms Popular Unfair or Deceptive Trade Practices

DOJ Settles Fair Lending Claims Based on Bank’s Mortgage Pricing System

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has announced a proposed consent order with Sage Bank to settle charges that the bank violated the Fair Housing Act (FHA) and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) by discriminating on...more

12/7/2015 - Consent Order DOJ ECOA Fair Housing Act (FHA) Mortgage Lenders Race Discrimination

Eighth Circuit Dismisses FDCPA Claims Based on Affiant’s Alleged False Attestation of Personal Knowledge

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit recently ruled that a plaintiff’s allegation that an affiant had falsely attested to having personal knowledge of the facts alleged in a debt collection complaint was...more

12/2/2015 - Debt Collection False Statements FDCPA Putative Class Actions

Disclosure Confusion in the Online Lead Generation Industry

This post is the second in a series we’re writing on the FTC’s workshop on online lead generation entitled Follow the Lead. In our first post, we explored how online lead generation works. Here, we will discuss two...more

11/23/2015 - Consumer Financial Products Disclosure FTC Internet Lenders Lead Generators UDAAP

Envelope’s Display of Internal Tracking Number Does Not Violate FDCPA, New York Federal Court Rules

A federal district court in New York has ruled that a debt collector did not violate the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) by sending a collection letter in an envelope that allegedly revealed an internal tracking...more

11/19/2015 - Corporate Counsel Debt Collection FDCPA FTC Motion for Judgment

The Five Stages of Online Lead Generation

On October 30, the FTC presented a workshop on lead generation entitled Follow the Lead. Online lead generation is an area receiving increased regulatory scrutiny by the FTC and other regulators, including the CFPB. Over the...more

11/5/2015 - Best Practices CFPB Consumer Financial Products Enforcement Actions Financial Institutions FTC GAO Lead Generators Online Advertisements Online Platforms Popular Search Engines Websites

Court: Debtor Cannot Use FDCPA as Enforcement Mechanism for Arbitration Provision

A debt collector did not violate the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) when it filed a summary judgment motion in a collection action after the debtor had sought enforcement of a credit card agreement’s arbitration...more

10/14/2015 - Arbitration Arbitration Agreements Consumer Financial Products Credit Cards Debt Collectors FDCPA Financial Institutions Summary Judgment

Flurry of FCRA Complaints Recently Filed in Nevada Courts

Approximately 50 cases have been filed recently in Nevada state and federal courts against furnishers of information and credit reporting agencies (CRAs) for alleged Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) violations. It appears...more

10/12/2015 - Cause of Action Accrual Consumer Bankruptcy Consumer Complaint Management Consumer Financial Products Credit Cards Credit Reporting Agencies Credit Reports Debt Dischargeable Debts FCRA Financial Institutions

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 (ABA) CFPB Fair Lending Financial Institutions 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 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 Institutions 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

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