Third Circuit Holds That Plaintiffs Alleging Respa Violations Under Section 8 Need Not Show An Overcharge To Have Article III Standing To Sue

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In Alston v. Countrywide Financial Corp., 2009 WL 3448264 (3d Cir. October 28, 2009), the United States Court of Appeal for the Third Circuit confronted the issue of whether consumer plaintiffs alleging a violation of section 8 of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act of 1974 (“RESPA”), codified in relevant part at 12 U.S.C. § 2607(d)(2), need to show a monetary injury “in the form of an overcharge” to have standing to bring a private right of action against a mortgage lender. The Third Circuit concluded that plaintiffs need not suffer an overcharge because the “plain language of RESPA section 8 indicate[s] that Congress created a private right of action without requiring an overcharge allegation.” Rather, plaintiffs must only allege that a defendant received a “kickback” or offered a “sham service” under RESPA section 8(a) and 8(b) –– regardless of whether plaintiffs have suffered a monetary harm –– to have Article III standing to sue in the Third Circuit. This decision paves the way for class action litigation against other lenders asserting claims under Section 8 of RESPA.

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