Antitrust & Unfair Business Practices
Predatory Lending/RESPA Litigation Practice Group
The Firm’s Predatory Lending/RESPA Litigation Practice Group is at the forefront of challenging abusive, unfair or discriminatory mortgage lending or related insurance practices. Through the efforts of this Practice Group, the Firm has been named lead or co-lead counsel in a number of class actions on behalf of home buyers subjected to (1) lender referral of borrowers to home purchase settlement service providers (e.g. private mortgage insuraners) in return for kickbacks or fee splits, not based on reputation, price, or quality of service; (2) lender/mortgage servicer "force placing" borrowers into grossly over-priced homeowners or flood insurance with insurance companies that kickback significant portions of the insurance premiums to the lender/servicer; and (3) racial discrimination in loan terms and fees arising from supposedly "neutral" lender policies as well as predatory lending/mortgage marketing practices involving "bait and switch" schemes to place borrowers into inappropriate "subprime" or non-traditional loans more profitable to the lender.
For example, the Group is currently prosecuting actions against 13 large national lenders for violations of RESPA (Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act). Plaintiffs in these cases allege that hundreds of thousands of home buyers across the country were subjected to abusive business practices by lenders who utilized wholly owned — or "captive" -- reinsurancesubsidiaries to accept unlawful kickbacksfrom providers of private mortgage insurance for guaranteed referrals of business. As these kickbacks and referrals had nothing to do with prices, quality of service, or the reputation of the mortgage insurers involved, Plaintiffs allege that such practices increase mortgage insurance prices over time and eliminate all competition among the insurers. To date, Kessler Topaz has recovered through the settlement of cases against Countrywide, Wells Fargo and WAMU over $50 million on behalf of affected borrowers.
Antitrust/Unfair Business Practice Group
Kessler Topaz also pursues complex antitrust litigation on behalf of clients, including public and private entities, municipalities, state agencies, and multi-employer welfare funds. The Firm is committed to the highest quality representation and counsels its clients on how best to maximize recovery for losses sustained as a result of anticompetitive behavior.The Antitrust Litigation Group combats anticompetitive conduct through litigation and — due to the expertise and experience of its attorneys in this highly specialized area of the law — has been appointed by courts to leadership positions in several important antitrust actions filed in courts throughout the country. In recent years, drug manufacturers have been the focus of high profile antitrust litigation as they seek to unlawfully extend their monopoly for certain pharmaceuticals by wrongfully blocking lower priced generic medications from entering the market. Manufacturers have gone so far as to initiate baseless patent infringement suits against generic brand drug manufacturers and have also entered into collusive licensing arrangements with generic manufacturers. For example, in In re Flonase Antitrust Litigation, where Kessler Topaz was co-lead counsel, the Antitrust Group achieved a settlement of $150 million after all discovery was closed and trial was imminent.