October 6, 2015
United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit Affirms Class Certification in In re Community Bank of Northern Virginia Mortgage Practices Litigation
On July 29, 2015, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit affirmed the district court’s decision granting class certification to over 22,000 borrowers on their claims against PNC Bank, N.A. for violations of federal lending laws.
This result is exceptional and marks the third successive time that the Plaintiffs and Class Members represented by Walters Renwick Richards Skeens & Vaughan, P.C. have prevailed in the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit!
The Court of Appeals’ decision affirms the July 31, 2013 decision of District Judge Arthur Schwab in the multidistrict proceeding In re Community Bank of Northern Virginia Mortgage Lending Practices Litigation, which granted class certification to a nationwide class and five subclasses of borrowers.
The Plaintiffs assert claims for violations of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, the Truth in Lending Act, the Home Ownership and Equity Protection Act, and Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act against PNC Bank, N.A., based on loans made by a bank it acquired, Community Bank of Northern Virginia. The Plaintiffs allege that, in connection with its origination of high-interest, high-rate second mortgage loans, and as part of a racketeering scheme and enterprise, Community Bank of Northern Virginia misrepresented the finance charges and annual percentage rates on the loans, charged bogus closing costs and other fees, failed to disclose the actual recipients of the origination and closing costs that were charged in connection with the loans, and concealed kickbacks to third parties and co-conspirators for work that was never done.
The Court of Appeals forcefully rejected each of PNC Bank’s arguments in opposition to class certification and refused to conclude that the District Court abused its discretion when certifying the lawsuit, which seeks over $2 billion in damages, as a class action.
At the conclusion of his 62-page opinion, Circuit Judge Kent Jordan declared that Court of Appeals’ decision “ends the third and, one hopes, the last quinquennial presentation of class certification questions to this court in this case.”
Walters Renwick Richards Skeens & Vaughan, P.C. attorneys R. Frederick Walters, J. Michael Vaughan, and David M. Skeens have been actively involved in this class action lawsuit since its inception, and presented the successful appeals to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in 2005, 2010 and 2015.
Speaking for all for all Plaintiffs and Counsel, Co-Lead Class Counsel R. Frederick Walters remarked:
“We think Judge Jordan’s opinion is a thoughtful and thorough analysis of the class certifications issues in this case. Notably, it affirms in every respect Judge Schwab’s reasoned analysis of the class certification issues. We believe this opinion finally puts to rest the class certification issues in this matter after 10 plus long years of litigation. We on behalf of the 20,000 plus class members look forward to presenting their claims to a jury.”
On October 5, 2015, the Court of Appeals entered an order denying PNC Bank’s Petition for Panel Rehearing and the Court En Banc. This order now concludes PNC Bank’s appeal at the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. We now expect PNC Bank to attempt an appeal of the Court of Appeals’ decision by filing a Petition for Writ of Certiorari with the United States Supreme Court in the near future.
A .pdf copy of the Court of Appeals’ decision may be downloaded here and from:
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