Fifth Circuit Denies Class Certification Of Kickback Claims Under RESPA

In Mims v. Stewart Title Guaranty Co., 2009 WL 4642631 (5th Cir. Dec. 9, 2009), the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit considered whether plaintiffs can bring class claims under Section 8(b) of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act of 1974 (“RESPA”), codified in relevant part at 12 U.S.C. § 2607(c), where a service provider’s fee “bears no relationship” to the service provided. After careful consideration, the Fifth Circuit concluded that “class issues do not predominate” in such situations, because determining whether the fee charged was reasonable or unreasonable necessarily required a “transaction-by-transaction” analysis, and that a class action is not a “superior method” to trying such individualized claims.

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