Photo of Geremy W. Gregory

Geremy is a Partner based in Balch & Bingham’s Jacksonville, FL office.  Licensed in both Florida and Georgia, Geremy represents financial institutions in state and federal courts from Miami to North Georgia.  He is experienced in handling lender liability claims, FDCPA, FCRA, identity theft, wrongful foreclosure, and claims asserted under the Uniform Commercial Code.

On April 1st, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) released a policy statement setting forth financial institutions’ obligations during the COVID-19 pandemic.  In addition to providing clarity regarding the recently-enacted Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the “CARES Act”), the CFPB’s pronouncement outlines a flexible approach towards credit reporting agencies and furnishers who, despite good-faith efforts, have had difficulty complying with Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”) requirements during the crisis.

Continue Reading Credit Reporting and COVID-19: CFPB Provides Flexibility to Financial Institutions

Last month, the Eleventh Circuit affirmed the dismissal of a putative class action suit alleging violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act thereby delivering an important victory to lenders and other entities that provide consumer information to credit reporting agencies. Under the FCRA, “furnishers” of consumer information are prohibited from providing inaccurate information to credit reporting agencies (“CRAs”) and must investigate when a consumer disputes such information.  In Hunt v. JP Morgan Chase Bank, Nat’l Ass’n, Case No. 18-11306, 2019 WL 1873419 (11th Cir. Apr. 25, 2019) (unpublished), a united panel held (in an unpublished opinion) that JP Morgan Chase had not violated its duties as a furnisher under the FCRA when it reported that a customer’s account was past due.  Not only was such information accurate when it was provided, but the bank was never even required to investigate its accuracy because the plaintiff’s complaint did not allege that JP Morgan received notice that he disputed the information with the CRAs. The Court did not decide, however, whether JP Morgan had an obligation to “refresh” information it had previously provided.

Continue Reading Eleventh Circuit affirms dismissal of attempted FCRA class action against furnisher of consumer information

Earlier this month, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit issued a decision that could make it easier for manufacturers to force consumers into arbitration via “shrinkwrap” agreements—packaged contracts which bind consumers by merely opening and keeping a product.  In Dye v. Tamko Building Products, Inc., Case No. 17-14052 (11th Cir. Nov. 2, 2018), the Eleventh Circuit considered an appeal of a district court’s order compelling arbitration and dismissing a lawsuit by Florida homeowners against the manufacturer of allegedly defective roofing shingles.  The packaging of the shingles displayed the manufacturer’s entire product-purchase agreement, including a mandatory arbitration provision.  In taking up the case, the Eleventh Circuit considered not only whether this shrinkwrap agreement was enforceable under Florida law, but also whether the homeowners were bound to arbitration because their hired roofers ordered, opened, and installed the shingles.

Continue Reading Eleventh Circuit: Shrinkwrap arbitration provision enforceable even if consumer never saw it

Earlier this month, Florida’s Supreme Court clarified that the 60-day period to claim surplus funds from judicial foreclosure sales begins from the county clerk’s issuance of the certificate of disbursements, not from when the property is actually sold at auction.  In Bank of New York Mellon v. Glenville, Docket No. SC17-954, 2018 WL 4327881 (Fla. Sept. 6, 2018), the Court considered whether a bank had timely filed its claim for surplus funds when it filed the claim 62 days after the public auction, but only 35 days after the clerk issued the certificate of disbursements.  In taking up the case, the Court set out to resolve a conflict between Florida’s Second and Fourth District Courts of Appeal over whether the 60-day period began to run upon the public auction of the property, the clerk’s issuance of the certificate of title, or another event.

Continue Reading Florida Supreme Court Clears Up Timeframe to Claim Surplus Funds from Foreclosure

If a mortgage servicer fails to comply with its obligations under the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (“RESPA”), 12 U.S.C. 2601, et seq., or its implementing regulations, a borrower may recover “any actual damages . . . as a result of the failure.” 12 U.S.C. 2605(f)(1)(A). Thus, to prevail on a RESPA claim, a borrower must show “actual damages” sustained as a result of the failure to comply. What constitutes “actual damages” has been the subject of a litany of recent decisions involving RESPA claims. In Baez v. Specialized Loan Servicing, LLC, 2017 WL 4220292 (Sept. 22, 2017), the Eleventh Circuit provided more clarity on the scope of “actual damages” under the statute.

Jaki Baez took out a mortgage loan in 2005, and Specialized Loan Servicing (“SLS”) took over the servicing of the loan a few years later. In January 2015, Baez stopped paying her mortgage to see if she could qualify for a loan modification agreement. She retained a law firm to both help with any ensuing foreclosure and to achieve a loan modification. She agreed to pay the firm a flat fee of $400 per month in connection with those efforts. In September 2015, Baez, through her attorney, sent a written request for information under 12 C.F.R. 1024.36(a) (part of RESPA’s implementing Regulation X, 12 C.F.R. part 1024) to SLS, in which she asked for information about her mortgage loan. SLS acknowledged the letter and later submitted a packet of information in response, but Baez claimed that the packet was deficient because it did not contain a file with SLS’s communications with her. Soon after receiving SLS’s purportedly deficient response, Baez filed suit under RESPA. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of SLS, finding that Baez failed to show that she had been injured by SLS’s response to her request for information. Baez appealed, and the Eleventh Circuit affirmed.


Continue Reading 11th Circuit Provides that Postage Fees Incurred for Sending a Request for Information under RESPA are Insufficient to Independently Establish “Actual Damages”

In a case of first impression for the Court, the Eleventh Circuit recently addressed whether federal district courts retain original subject matter jurisdiction over state law claims included in a class action filed pursuant to the Class Action Fairness Act (“CAFA”) even after all class claims have been dismissed.  In Wright Transportation, Inc. v. Pilot

Last week, after much anticipation and speculation, the Florida Supreme Court decided Bartram v. U.S. Bank National Association, No. SC14-1265 (Fla. Nov. 3, 2016). To the relief of lenders, the Court rejected the borrower’s attempt to use Florida’s five-year statute of limitations for mortgage foreclosures to avoid the mortgage on his home based on the bank’s earlier unsuccessful attempt to foreclose. This decision means that Florida courts will be less likely to find that subsequent attempts to foreclosure are time-barred.
Continue Reading No “Free House” in Florida

The Eleventh Circuit upheld a Florida District Court’s certification of a class of consumers that purchased or leased 2014 Cadillac CTS Sedans in Florida. Carriulo et. al v. General Motors Company, Doc. No. 15-14442 (11th Cir. May 17, 2016). The consumers alleged General Motors violated Florida’s Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act by affixing window stickers to the CTS Sedans that claimed the vehicles received five-star safety ratings from the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (“NHTSA”). Id. 3-6.


Continue Reading Eleventh Circuit Upholds Florida Unfair & Deceptive Trade Practice Act Class Certification Despite no Reliance by Class Members

In Gloor v. BancorpSouth Bank, No. 2140914 (Ala. Civ. App. April 1, 2016), the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals held that a creditor may revive and collect on an unpaid judgment that is older than 10 years, further clarifying a significant protection afforded to financial institutions charged with recovering past due amounts owed by judgment debtors.

Continue Reading Alabama Court of Civil Appeals affirms revival of 11-year old uncollected judgment based on affidavit testimony of creditor’s corporate officer with knowledge of debtor’s nonpayment

Following the Eleventh Circuit’s decision last month in McGinnis v. American Home Mortgage Servicing, Inc., No. 14-13404, mortgage servicers should be aware that failing to recognize and correct miscalculations of a borrower’s payment may subject them to liability for extreme and outrageous conduct in certain circumstances.

American Home Mortgage Servicing, Inc. took over the servicing of mortgages on several rental properties in Georgia owned by Jane McGinnis. American’s welcome letter to McGinnis stated that her monthly payment had risen over $200 from the amount she had been paying the previous servicer. Believing she did not owe this additional amount, McGinnis continued paying the original amount, and American charged her additional fees for the apparent deficiency. Eventually, American conceded that it had miscalculated the payment amount, but insisted that McGinnis pay the previously incurred late fees. American eventually foreclosed on one of McGinnis’s properties due to nonpayment of these late fees and related charges. McGinnis sued America for wrongful foreclosure, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and conversion, among others.


Continue Reading Eleventh Circuit Affirms Jury Verdict Against Mortgage Servicer for Extreme and Outrageous Conduct