Category: Litigation & Enforcement Actions

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Marketing Financial Services through Social Media: Twitter Case May Impact Social Media Platforms
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RESPA Investigations Initiated at HUD May Have Been Reassigned to the CFPB
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When Trying Title Becomes Trying: The Impact of Bevilacqua v. Rodriguez on Massachusetts Foreclosure Law

Marketing Financial Services through Social Media: Twitter Case May Impact Social Media Platforms

By: Andrew L. Caplan* and David A. Tallman
*Mr. Caplan is not yet admitted to practice; admission to the NY Bar pending.

Litigation making its way through the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California could have broad implications for the use of social media websites for marketing purposes. The central issue in PhoneDog, LLC v. Kravitz is the extent to which a company can control or limit the use of a social media account created for the company’s benefit but used by an individual employee in that employee’s name. The case illustrates the competing concerns that companies face with respect to social media marketing. Some companies may prefer to allow employees to engage with social media relatively independently in order to mitigate the risk that courts or regulatory authorities will impute employee-generated content to the company or subject the content to substantive regulation. But by doing so, companies may lose the ability to manage key social media relationships. Read More

RESPA Investigations Initiated at HUD May Have Been Reassigned to the CFPB

By: Phillip L. Schulman

When HUD transferred RESPA enforcement authority to the CFPB, some RESPA investigations that had been initiated at HUD may have been assigned to the new agency. As a result, some companies may not be out of the woods just yet.

Approximately 10 former HUD RESPA Enforcement Division staffers and counsel transferred to the new CFPB on July 21st, including RESPA Enforcement Division Director Bart Shapiro. About five of those employees ended up being reassigned to the CFPB’s Enforcement Division. Last spring the HUD Unit was busy trying to resolve dozens of RESPA investigations before they turned out the RESPA enforcement lights at HUD. Read More

When Trying Title Becomes Trying: The Impact of Bevilacqua v. Rodriguez on Massachusetts Foreclosure Law

By: R. Bruce Allensworth, Andrew C. Glass, Roger L. Smerage

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (“SJC”) has ruled that Massachusetts property owners may lack standing to establish title to their property where there is a void foreclosure sale in the chain of title. The Massachusetts “try title” statute permits a holder of “record title” in possession of property to file a petition to force adverse claimants to defend their purported interest in the property. In Bevilacqua v. Rodriguez, the SJC held that a third-party purchaser of foreclosed property did not hold record title where no assignment of mortgage to the foreclosing entity had occurred at the time of foreclosure. Absent such an assignment, the foreclosure sale was invalid, and the foreclosing entity had nothing to convey to the third-party purchaser. Taking nothing from the foreclosing entity, the third-party purchaser lacked standing to maintain a try title action against the original mortgagor. Nonetheless, the scope of the ruling is likely limited to Massachusetts and jurisdictions where a mortgagee or its assigns must initiate foreclosure and where the party bringing the foreclosure action did not obtain an assignment of the mortgage until after the commencement of the foreclosure process. Moreover, because the Bevilacqua decision simply applies the law as already articulated by the SJC in its January 2011 U.S. Bank, N.A. v. Ibanez  opinion, its impact on current and ongoing foreclosure practices appears limited. Massachusetts foreclosure attorneys are likely to have already altered their assignment practices in light of Ibanez.

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