Financial Services Litigation

  • Holland & Knight's Financial Services Litigation Team is supported by more than two dozen related practices, including bankruptcy, anti-money laundering, anti-corruption, consumer class action, financial investigations, cybersecurity and privacy, securities and white collar defense. Our broad experience allows us to assist our clients on nearly any matter.
  • Our services include all litigation matters encountered by companies in the financial services industry, including individual claims and class actions, consumer complaints, Ponzi schemes, government and regulatory enforcement actions, bankruptcy and lending disputes.
  • Our Financial Services Litigation Team includes more than 50 lawyers throughout the country who have extensive trial experience, including many who have served as federal or state prosecutors, or as counsel in key financial services regulatory agencies.
  • We have specific experience with the agencies, laws and regulations where compliance issues often result in litigation, including state consumer protection laws.
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Overview

How Holland & Knight Can Help

Holland & Knight's Financial Services Litigation Team advises clients of all shapes and sizes in the financial services industry, including banks and trust companies, finance subsidiaries of manufacturers, nonbank finance companies, insurance companies, pension funds, secured lenders and private equity firms. We understand that, as highly regulated companies reliant on public trust, financial institutions have to win in litigation while maintaining their reputations. Our highly experienced national team handles everything from bet-the-company class actions and high-stakes appellate work to portfolio work and business-to-business disputes. More than 50 trial lawyers work directly on our team, and 51 of our attorneys in litigation practices are rated by Chambers. Backed by Holland & Knight's more than 1,300 lawyers and other professionals, we have an extensive presence that reaches nearly every U.S. jurisdiction, with 25 offices from Alaska to Florida.

  • Consumer Class Actions Involving Financial Products and Services: Many class actions against traditional financial institutions and FinTech companies directly challenge the terms of financial products and services. In defending these cases, Holland & Knight's Financial Services Litigation team works closely with attorneys on our Financial Services Regulatory Team and Consumer Protection Defense and Compliance Team. Common issues include the Truth in Lending Act (TILA), Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) and other disclosure laws; the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and other credit reporting laws; the Fair Housing Act, Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) and other anti-discrimination laws; deposit, ATM and payments; bankruptcy issues; residential mortgage origination, servicing and foreclosure; automotive finance lending, leasing and repossession; and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and similar state debt collection laws. For more information, please contact Mark Melodia and Kwamina Williford.
  • Other Class Actions Against Financial Institutions: Financial institutions also face many legal challenges common to all businesses. We have decades of experience with issues such as consent to call, compliance with wage and hour laws, and public accommodations. Holland & Knight also has leading experience in more than 85 class actions involving privacy and data security issues. Common issues include the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and call recording; the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA); labor and employment laws; privacy and cybersecurity; antitrust regulation; and securities. For more information, please contact Paul Bond and Cory Eichhorn.
  • High-Stakes Individual Actions for Financial Institutions: A case does not have to be a class action to be important. We have represented financial institutions in a number of defining moments, from helping to establish the structured settlement factoring laws nationwide, to defending mortgage companies in the State of New Jersey threatened with an en masse foreclosure shutdown, to representing equipment leasing companies in multistate battles. Our experience includes: shareholder challenges to bank mergers and sales; large vendor disputes; appellate matters with the risk of negative precedent; enforcing rights in arbitration; false and deceptive advertising; website domain disputes and other litigation related to internet use; employee fraud and theft of trade secrets; money laundering and other litigation relating to suspicious transactions; Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) and related litigation involving fraud; embezzlement and elder abuse; commercial foreclosure and enforcement of security interests; lender liability and litigation involving loans in workout and bankruptcy; and trust and other estate litigation on behalf of financial institutions serving as trustee. For more information, please contact Suzanne Gilbert and Andrew Soven.
  • Representation in Government Investigations: Holland & Knight represents financial institution clients every step of the way, from problematic examinations to inquiries and investigations, and when needed, to defend them in court or on Capitol Hill. Our group includes former U.S. Attorneys, a former deputy chief of staff to the U.S. Attorney General, the former chief trial counsel for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), former senior members of U.S. Attorney and State Attorneys General Offices across the nation, a former senior legal counsel in the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), and a former general counsel to the Florida Office of Financial Regulation and the Florida Department of Financial Services. Our work in this area includes extensive experience before federal and state regulators, including the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), Federal Trade Commission (FTC), U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), Federal Reserve Board (FRB) and state attorneys general. In addition, our Federal Practice Team includes dozens of attorneys and professionals who maintain established working relationships on a bipartisan basis in Congress, the executive offices of the White House and key executive agencies. For more information, please contact William Shepherd and Andres Fernandez.
  • Portfolio Litigation: Holland & Knight has extensive experience managing and resolving portfolios of smaller individual cases for financial institutions, using dedicated associates and staff attorneys under appropriate supervision. We understand that an early case assessment is essential to handling these matters and have developed and implemented technology to promote efficiency at no additional expense to clients. We are, for example, entrusted to exclusively manage nationwide consumer finance litigation for a major auto finance company. For more information, please contact Carter Burgess and Martin Durkin.
  • Business-to-Business Litigation for Financial Institutions: With one of the nation's largest litigation practices, Holland & Knight can bring or defend against commercial litigation in any area, including litigation with third-party service providers; litigation with commercial customers; restrictive covenant and non-competition litigation against former employees; and litigation with other third parties. For more information, please contact Ashley Shively and James DelBello.

Representative Engagements

Residential Mortgage Litigation

  • Represented two of the nation's five largest banks facing nationwide class actions in the Northern District of California alleging violations of TILA related to the disclosure of property insurance proceeds in payoff statements
  • Represented one of the nation's five largest banks in five Eastern District and Western District of Pennsylvania class actions involving Unfair or Deceptive Acts or Practices (UDAP) and other mortgage servicing claims; all cases concluded with dismissal, affirmances on appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and one individual settlement of nominal value
  • Represented multiple large banks in connection with RESPA claims involving alleged nondisclosure of costs associated with treaties between captive reinsurance companies and private mortgage insurers; following summary judgment and affirmance on appeal by the Third Circuit, all remaining cases settled at nominal value or withdrawn
  • Obtained denials of class certification in putative class actions filed against bank clients in Virginia, New Jersey, Maryland and Alabama alleging that the payments of yield spread premiums from lenders to brokers were illegal "kickbacks" under RESPA
  • Represented one of nation's five largest banks before the New Jersey Supreme Court, resulting in favorable ruling on a challenge to the sufficiency of the pre-foreclosure breach letter; the Court found that pre-foreclosure notice defects are not jurisdictional, overruling a prior appellate decision and clearing up the backlog of frozen foreclosure cases in New Jersey
  • Succeeded in convincing the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania to review and unanimously reverse a precedential decision of the Superior Court that had held that a form of pre-suit notice used by the entire mortgage industry for more than a decade that failed to include information about credit counseling and loan modification opportunities stripped the trial court of subject matter jurisdiction, thereby throwing into question the finality of final foreclosure judgments in the Commonwealth

Fair Credit Reporting Act and Related Litigation

  • Obtained dismissal of FCRA claims filed in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania against one of the nation's five largest banks in putative class action alleging that the bank was not reporting post-bankruptcy payments made to avoid foreclosure and did not add payment details or mark accounts as disputed in response to disputes; remaining claims were resolved on an individual basis
  • Represented one of the nation's largest banks in joint defense efforts that obtained the dismissal of putative class actions alleging antitrust and RICO conspiracies to fix the prime rate and to fix credit prices and availability using FICO and other credit scoring systems
  • Represented credit reporting agency in Eastern District of Pennsylvania litigation involving FCRA claims based on pre-employment screening services
  • Defended a series of five putative national class actions in the Middle District of Florida arising from the theft of consumer information; plaintiffs sought to impose up to $8.5 billion in statutory liability under the FCRA; proposed favorable settlement given final approval, with a settlement class in excess of 30 million consumers
  • Represented national retailer's captive finance company in action brought by then-New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo alleging violations of the FCRA and ECOA as well as of consumer protection laws with respect to financing and sales practices

Auto Finance

  • Defeated class certification in Southern District of New York putative class action based on post-repossession notices of collateral sale, with the court adopting novel argument rejecting attempt to certify nationwide class and finding that claims were unsuitable for class treatment
  • Obtained dismissal in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and affirmance on appeal by the Third Circuit of putative class action based on post-repossession notices of collateral sale, with the court adopting novel argument that certain state laws did not apply to captive finance company
  • Defeated class certification and obtained partial summary judgment in coordinated nationwide TCPA actions pending in Northern District of Illinois against one of nation's largest auto finance companies
  • Defended auto finance company in putative class action filed in the Superior Court of California – County of Contra Costa alleging violations of California's Rees-Levering Act related to statutory post-repossession notices and secured court approval of favorable class-wide settlement
  • Defended multiple financial institutions in state court class actions based on FDCPA violations and post-repossession collateral sale notices

Privacy and Related Issues

  • Defended client in multidistrict litigation (MDL) in Western District of Kentucky involving more than 40 putative class actions arising from the alleged theft and resale of mortgage-related consumer information; putative national class settlement for class exceeding 17 million persons given final approval; opt-out litigation dismissed on our client's motion
  • Defended online mortgage broker in MDL in Western District of North Carolina in eight putative class actions arising from alleged improper access to applicant information; compelled to individual arbitration
  • Defeated class certification against one of the nation's five largest banks in one of the first call recording class actions brought under California's Information Privacy Act
  • Defended national bank, student loan lender and private wealth manager in separate class actions filed in District Court alleging invasion of privacy for alleged violations of California's Information Privacy Act
  • Defeated class certification in TCPA class action brought by non-customer against large auto finance lender in Eastern District of Wisconsin
  • Defended multiple global brands, including an investment brokerage, against state court class actions brought in Missouri and Arkansas, where plaintiff sought to characterize flash cookies as hacking under state law
  • Defended specialty consumer reporting agency in multiple class actions filed in California, Florida and Illinois arising from insider theft of sensitive personal information; obtained highly favorable nationwide class settlement on claims-made basis

Fair Lending

  • Represented multiple national mortgage lenders in Northern and Central Districts of California alleging racial discrimination, including winning post-Dukes denial of class certification to potential disparate impact claims in MDL
  • Represented lenders before Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission in connection with fair lending disputes

Other Class Actions

  • Obtained affirmance from U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit of judgment dismissing putative class action brought under the Investment Advisers Act against large financial services company
  • Defended one of nation's largest lease finance companies in class actions and Attorneys General investigations initiated in New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Florida, Texas, California, Massachusetts and elsewhere arising from the collapse of Novergence
  • Defended a public pension fund in class actions alleging fraudulent conveyances arising from leveraged buyouts
  • Represented large financial institution in one of first available balance/ledger balance overdraft fee cases

UCC and Community Bank Litigation

  • Obtained for one of the nation's five largest banks a first decision by Pennsylvania appellate court enforcing consumer account agreement's notice of claim provisions related to fraudulent check claims under UCC
  • Represented one of the nation's largest financial institutions in numerous Article 3, 4 and 4A claims related to check and wire fraud
  • Obtained summary judgment and affirmance from Texas Court of Appeals in litigation involving Article 4A-202 and whether customer could be reimbursed for alleged fraudulent withdrawals when customer agreed to use commercially reasonable security procedures to accept Automated Clearing House (ACH) debits
  • Represented bank that was victim of $100 million per month check kiting scheme in Middle District of Pennsylvania litigation against regional trucking company

Other Noteworthy Cases

  • Represented one of the nation's largest financial services company in Eastern District of Pennsylvania involving non-competition claims against more than 50 insurance agents and related trademark litigation
  • Defeated lender liability claims filed by real estate concern against large financial institution in the Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
  • Represented one of the nation's largest financial institutions as agent for consortium of lenders in federal receivership involving 32 separate real estate projects spread across multiple states and $50 million in secured debt
  • Represented casualty business insurance company as surety and credit enhancers on the foreclosure and restructuring of public housing bonds in connection with a 30-project, multistate portfolio consisting of assets in excess of $1 billion; involved multistate foreclosure and bankruptcy matters
  • Represented a bank in a key successor liability case in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit brought by the Illinois Department of Revenue
  • Represented a large trust company in connection with its special assets (distressed) portfolio

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