Defendants Granted Limitations-Based Summary Judgment In Captive Reinsurance Class Action

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A putative class of mortgage consumers sued Flagstar Bank and its captive reinsurer alleging that they engaged in an illegal “kickback” scheme with private mortgage insurers, which scheme artificially inflated the price of such insurance for the plaintiffs, in violation of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (“RESPA”). The defendants claimed plaintiffs failed to file suit within RESPA’s one year statute of limitations. Plaintiffs claimed the statute was equitably tolled because defendants actively concealed the “scheme.”

After declining to grant a motion to dismiss on the pleadings, and allowing the parties to make an adequate factual record on the statute of limitation issue for summary judgment, the court granted the defendants’ summary judgment motion. The statute ran “from the date of the occurrence of the violation,” which commences upon the closing of the loan, and that each of the plaintiffs’ claims were filed in excess of a year from closing. The court rejected the plaintiffs’ equitable tolling argument, noting that in RESPA cases, “silence is insufficient to toll the statute of limitations; the defendant must have performed an independent act of concealment upon which the plaintiff justifiably relied.” The record included no evidence of active concealment on the defendants’ part. Hill v. Flagstar Bank, Case No. 12-2770 (USDC E.D. Pa. June 26, 2014).

 


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