Court Denies Motions To Dismiss Putative Class Action Alleging Unlawful Reinsurance Arrangement

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A federal court in Pennsylvania denied defendants’ motion to dismiss in a putative class action based on purported mortgage services fraud. Defendants Fifth Third Bank, Fifth Third Mortgage Company, Fifth Third Mortgage Insurance Reinsurance Company, Radian Guaranty Inc., and Mortgage Guaranty Insurance Corporation argued that plaintiffs’ claims were untimely because they were brought outside the Real Estate Settlement and Procedures Act’s one-year limitations period. Plaintiffs sufficiently pled facts to equitably toll the statute of limitations. The operative complaint, for instance, alleged that none of the disclosures, correspondence, or monthly billing statements that plaintiffs received from either their mortgagee or their primary mortgage insurers advised plaintiffs that a portion of their monthly mortgage payments were financing reinsurance premiums or indicated that mortgages were actually reinsured. The court further found that the complaint pled a RESPA violation plausible on its face. The allegations described that the primary mortgage insurers purportedly remitted kickbacks, dressed up as reinsurance premiums, in exchange for a steady stream of primary mortgage insurance business. In support of their allegation that no real risk was transferred between the primary mortgage insurers and the captive reinsurers, plaintiffs pointed to the terms of the reinsurance contracts, which they argued provided no recourse to the primary mortgage insurers in the event that the reinsurers did not maintain adequate reserves to pay claims. Plaintiffs also argued that the claims paid by the reinsurers were low dollar amounts compared to the premiums. Manners v. Fifth Third Bank, Case No. 2:12-cv-00442 (USDC W.D. Pa. Feb. 5, 2014).

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