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Consumer Financial Services
Broad and Cassel's Consumer Financial Services Practice Group regularly provides counsel to financial service providers involving the most complex legal issues, including regulatory compliance, consumer finance litigation, enforcement and transactional matters in accordance with state and federal consumer protection laws and regulations.
Comprised of experienced attorneys from various practice areas across the Firm, this multi-disciplinary team is able to meet the evolving challenges faced by clients in the financial services industry. Our attorneys collaborate to ensure client needs and goals are addressed and monitor changes in the laws and regulations on an ongoing basis.
Broad and Cassel has represented clients in a vast array of consumer finance matters, in both class and individual consumer litigation and before state and federal agencies, including:
- Truth in Lending Act (TILA)
- Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA)
- Federal Trade Commission Act (FTCA)
- Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act (FCCPA)
- Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)
- Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)
- Florida's Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (FDUTPA)
- State and Federal Agency Investigations
- Electronic Payment Disputes
- Defending clients and their key officers and personnel from reputational challenges in deposition and trials
Scope of Clientele
From locally based community banks to some of the largest global financial institutions, Broad and Cassel offers its diverse portfolio of legal services to a variety of clients, including:
- Commercial and Investment Banks
- Insurance Companies
- Credit Unions
- Investment Companies
- Franchise Automobile Dealers
- Independent Automobile Dealers
- Buy Here – Pay Here Automobile Dealers
- Finance Companies
- Motor Vehicle Leasing Companies
- Mortgage Banks
- Servicing Firms
- Account Originators and Lenders
- Collection Agencies
- Debt Buyers
- Direct and Indirect Consumer Lenders
Broad and Cassel's attorneys have achieved favorable results in a number of cases and arbitrations. Highlights include:
Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)
Florida's Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (FDUTPA)
- Consumer brought class action against debt collector, alleging violations of FDCPA relating to collector's filing of writ of garnishment actions in state court against consumer and members of the class. Summary judgment granted on behalf of client with respect to any class plaintiffs whose claims were barred by the statute of limitations or were filed after debt collector was licensed in the state of Florida. (Collins v. Erin Capital Mgmt., LLC, 991 F.Supp.2d 1195 (S.D.Fla. 2013))
- Consumer brought action against debt collection company alleging violations of the FDCPA. Summary judgment granted on behalf of client denying plaintiff's claim of violation of § 1692c(a)(2) of FDCPA. (Dunning v. Portfolio Recovery Assoc., LLC, 903 F.Supp.2d 1362 (S.D.Fla. 2012))
Truth in Lending Act
- Consumers brought action against owner of automobile dealerships for violation of FDUTPA asserting that owner orchestrated scheme to “stuff” or “pack” anti-theft product into sales transactions without proper disclosure. Firm successfully obtained partial reversal of class certification order. (Sonic Auto., Inc. v. Galura, 961 So.2d 961 (Fla.App. 2 Dist. 2007))
- Consumers brought action against owner of automobile dealerships for violations of FDUTPA, fraud in the inducement, negligent misrepresentation, fraudulent concealment, negligence, breach of contract, and claim on motor vehicle dealer bond. Arbitration ruling on behalf of client denying plaintiff's claims of all seven violations.
- Consumer arbitration involving the alleged violation of FDUTPA by an automotive dealership and unfair lending claims against a finance company. Arbitration ruling in favor of client defendant.
- Consumer arbitration relating to the online sale of a vehicle, with the Claimant alleged breach of contract, breach of warranty and FDUTPA claims focused on the condition of the vehicle that was sold through an online auction. Arbitration ruling in favor of client dealership, including dealership's attorney fees and arbitration costs from the claimant.
- Consumer arbitration relating to the sale of a vehicle in which Claimant alleged violations of breach of contract, breach of warranty, fraud and FDUTPA claims focused on the expense incurred by Claimant for the replacement of the manufacturer’s leather seats for aftermarket leather seats in an alternative color requested by Claimant. Arbitration ruling in favor of client dealership, including partial attorney fees.
Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act (FCCPA)
- Beach v Ocwen Federal Bank, 523 U.S. 410 (1998), affirming Beach v Great Western Bank, 692 So.2d 146 (Fla. 1997) – Broad and Cassel was sole counsel on this landmark case through the three levels of the Florida judiciary before acting as second chair before the US Supreme Court. The courts consistently ruled in favor of the lender finding authoritatively that the right of rescission provided under the Truth in Lending Act expired no later than three years after the consummation of the mortgage transaction and that the right could not be extended simply because it was raised defensively as a matter of recoupment beyond the three year period. Existing precedent in other jurisdictions had uniformly permitted rescission to be sought beyond the expiration period in response to an action to collect the debt. The U. S. Supreme Court unanimously agreed with the arguments formulated by Broad and Cassel throughout the Florida courts eliminating any rescission rights raised after three years.
- Pignato v Great Western Bank, 664 So. 2d 1011 (Fla. 4th DCA 1995) – In 1994, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, in Rodash v AIB Mortgage, 16 F.3d 1142 (11th Cir. 1994), determined that Florida’s intangible tax constituted a finance charge under the Truth in Lending Act. As a result of that determination virtually all mortgage loans in Florida violated the Act. In Pignato, Broad and Cassel convinced the court that defining the nature of the intangible tax was a question of state, not federal law and that therefore the court was not bound by the 11th Circuit’s ruling. The Florida court agreed and found the tax was not a finance charge. Thereafter, the 11th Circuit receded from its conclusion based upon the Pignato decision.
Georgia Fair Business Practices Act (FBPA)
- Consumer brought action against financial institution alleging violation of the FCCPA. Arbitration ruling on behalf of client denying plaintiff's claim.
- Two day consumer arbitration in Atlanta, Georgia of consumer claims brought under the Georgia FBPA and alleging breaches of warranty and contract relating to the sale of a used motor vehicle that was alleged to have been in a prior accident. Arbitration ruling on behalf of client dealership for the majority of the consumer's claims and the attorney for the consumer was not awarded any attorney's fees despite the consumer's status as the prevailing party.