Tenth Circuit Overturns Heightened Pleading Standard for TILA Rescission Cases


On July 30, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit overturned a district court ruling that would have required borrowers seeking rescission under TILA to state their ability to repay in the initial complaint. Sanders v. Mountain Am. Fed. Credit Union, No. 11-4008, 2012 WL 3064741 (10th Cir. Jul. 30, 2012). The borrowers timely sued to compel rescission of their mortgage loan, claiming that the lender failed to provide disclosures required under TILA. The district court held that the borrowers were not entitled to rescission because they failed to plead their ability to repay. On appeal the court held that, while TILA recognizes that a court may entertain a creditor’s petition for an order equitably modifying the rescission procedure, in this case the district court impermissibly altered that procedure and created a pleading standard that would require all borrowers seeking TILA rescission to plead their ability to repay. The court reasoned that such a standard would add a condition not supported by TILA or Regulation Z, and that categorical relief is outside of the district court’s equitable powers. However, the court maintained that a district court still may use its equitable powers to protect a creditor’s interest during the rescission process. The appellate court also reversed the district court’s dismissal of the borrowers’ ECOA claim related to a separate refinance transaction because the district court made factual assumptions about the refinance process in violation of its obligation to draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff borrowers. While the TILA and ECOA claims were remanded for further proceedings, the court upheld the district court’s dismissal of the borrowers’ claims that the lender also violated FCRA when it reported false information to consumer reporting agencies, holding that FCRA does not provide a private right of action against the furnisher of credit information.


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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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