Notable Bankruptcy and Consumer Protection Cases

Rhode Island consumer protection lawyer, Christopher M. Lefebvre, has demonstrated a significant commitment to people facing financial challenges in bankruptcy or as a result of auto fraud, mortgage fraud. Below are a few of the notable bankruptcy and consumer protection cases he's successfully brought to trial. To date, his largest case was the Sears bankruptcy class action suit where 190,000 former debtors received restitution in excess of $175 million.

Contact The Family and Consumer Law Center or call 401-728-6060 (toll-free at 800- 851-1829) to schedule a free initial consultation with bankruptcy attorney Christopher Lefebvre .

CASES OF INTEREST

Melfi v. WMC Mortgage Corp., 568 F.3d 309 (1st Cir. 2009): TILA class action case where mortgage company left spaces on model form blank for date of refinancing and date of actual deadline for rescission. District Court held that these technical deficiencies did not violate TILA and First Circuit affirmed. Petition for Rehearing en banc and/or Panel Rehearing filed 6/25/09. If denied, Plaintiff intends to seek a petition for certiorari to the United States Supreme Court.

Bonney v. Washington Mutual Bank, 596 F.Supp.2d 173 (D.Mass. 2009): Borrower alleged that mortgage company's failure to include the transaction date on the notices of rescission violated TILA. Although the magistrate judge agreed that such a notice stated a claim, the District Court disagreed and called omitting such information "merely technical."

Tenney v. Deutsche Bank Trust Corp., 2009 WL 415510 (D.Mass. 2009): Borrower signed a "Certificate of Confirmation of Notice of Right to Rescind" at the closing which both "confirmed" that he would not exercise his right to rescind and stated that the three business days for rescission had already elapsed, when they had not. District Court held that the Borrower had stated a TILA claim and case would not be dismissed.

Deandrade v. Trans Union LLC, 523 F.3d 61 (1st Cir. 2008): Consumer litigation under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) regarding the credit bureaus' alleged failure to reinvestigate and delete a disputed debt from consumer's credit report.

Megitt v. Indymac Bank, F.S.B., 547 F.Supp.2d 56 (D.Mass. 2008): TILA class action case regarding blank spaces on model form.

Dixon v. Calusa Investments, LLC, 554 F.Supp.2d 139, (D.R.I. 2008): Consumer brought a putative class action against a creditor, claiming that it had violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) in sending out various mailers.

In re Chiappone, 2007 WL 4178510 (Bankr.D.Conn. 2007): Successful adversary litigation on behalf of non-debtor wife and her divorce attorney regarding non-dischargeability of certain domestic support obligations and related attorney fees arising from Rhode Island Family Court divorce decree.

Dixon v. Shamrock Financial Corp., 482 F.Supp.2d 172 (D.Mass.2007): Consumer sued under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) for creditor sending solicitation offering free consultation for purposes of, inter alia, restructuring his debt.

Sullivan v. Greenwood Credit Union, 499 F.Supp.2d 83 (D.Mass. 2007): Class action on behalf of creditors who received a "pre-approved" letter for a home loan from credit union, claiming that the credit union unlawfully accessed the credit reports of the recipients.

Park v. Ford Motor Co., 928 A.2d 469 (R.I. 2007): Consumer class action against truck manufacturer that failed to provide security system listed on window sticker as a standard feature.

In re Wilding, 475 F.3d 428 (1st Cir. 2007): Bankruptcy Court and B.A.P. both held that Debtor could not avoid judicial lien that had already been satisfied, but the First Circuit reversed and held that if the lien existed at the filing of the bankruptcy petition and was not satisfied until afterwards the lien could be avoided.

Palmer v. Champion Mortg., 465 F.3d 24, (1st Cir. 2006): TILA litigation where borrower alleged notice of rescission was confusing because dates which were completed had already passed by time borrower received notices in mail.

In re Montes, 2006 WL 3898386 (Bankr.D.R.I. 2006): On Debtor's Complaint, Bankruptcy Court held any obligation for car repairs could not be deemed an extension of the original retail installment contract and was merely an unsecured claim discharged in bankruptcy

Morrissey v. Webster Bank, N.A., 417 F.Supp.2d 183 (D.Mass. 2006): Consumer who was not customer of bank brought action against bank, challenging adequacy of fee notices posted on automatic teller machines (ATMs) owned by bank under the Electronic Fund Transfer Act.

Belini v. Washington Mut. Bank, FA, 412 F.3d 17 (1st Cir. 2005): As matter of first impression, TILA permits damages claim based on lender's alleged failure to respond properly to borrower's notice of rescission.

In re Watson, 403 F.3d 1(1st Cir 2005): Litigated to the First Circuit issue of whether or not cost of private school tuition for Chapter 13 debtors' minor children was "reasonably necessary" expense so as to be included in "disposable income" available to debtors for payments under their chapter 13 plan (no longer relevant under BAPCPA).

Hoefs v. CACV of Colorado, LLC, 365 F.Supp.2d 69 (D.Mass. 2005): Consumer brought action against collection agency, law firm, and lawyer alleging violations of Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and state law - arbitration compelled.

In re Ladds,2005 WL 1365078 (Bankr.D.R.I. 2005): Bankruptcy Court denied non-debtor spouse's request for abstention to allow litigation regarding litigation against debtor wife regarding non-dischargeability of certain credit card debt to proceed in Rhode Island Family Court.

Rodrigues v. Members Mortgage Co., Inc., 323 F.Supp.2d 202 (D.Mass. 2004): TILA class action against mortgage company and lender alleging violation of disclosure requirements in federal Truth in Lending Act (TILA) and Massachusetts Consumer Credit Cost Disclosure Act (CCCDA).

Barrett v. Avco Financial Services Management Co., 292 B.R. 1 (D.Mass. 2003): Class action to recover for creditor's alleged practice of attempting to collect discharged prepetition debts pursuant to "reaffirmation agreements" which did not satisfy statutory requirements.

Mann v. Chase Manhattan Mortg. Corp., 316 F.3d 1 (1st Cir. 2003): Chapter 13 debtor- mortgagors sued to recover for mortgagee's alleged violations of automatic stay.

Arruda v. Sears, Roebuck & Co., 310 F.3d 13 (1st Cir. 2002): Former Chapter 7 debtors brought putative class action against creditor-retailer, its affiliated entity, and retailer's law firm, alleging that defendants violated the Bankruptcy Code, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), and/or state law by entering into post-discharge redemption agreements with plaintiffs without bankruptcy court approval.

In re Lamanna, 285 B.R. 347 (Bankr.D.R.I. 2002): Litigation regarding dischargeability of student loan obligations where Bankruptcy Court adopted the "hybrid approach" to student loan dischargeability, whereby the undue hardship analysis is applied to a debtor's educational debt on a loan-by-loan basis.

In re Singleton, 284 B.R. 322 (D.R.I. 2002): Bankruptcy Court could only certify debtor class from Rhode Island district regarding creditor's alleged violation of discharge injunction in connection with reaffirmation agreements.

In re Larocque, 283 B.R. 640 (Bankr.D.R.I. 2002): Bankruptcy court exercised its discretion to deny enforcement of arbitration clause and retained jurisdiction over TILA dispute.

In re Mann, 249 B.R. 831, (BAP 1st Cir. 2000): Bankruptcy Appellate Panel affirmed that consumer debtor could "strip off" wholly under-secured second mortgage on residential real property and treat it as unsecured.

Conley v. Sears, Roebuck & Co., 222 B.R. 181 (D.Mass. 1998): At the time, the largest class action case in bankruptcy court history, holding Sears liable for obtaining unauthorized reaffirmation agreements from debtors and failing to file them with various bankruptcy courts.

In re Kheng, 202 B.R. 538 (Bkrtcy.D.R.I. 1996): Debtor allowed to "strip off" portion of nonresidential real estate mortgage that was under-secured and continue to pay agreed to monthly mortgage payments for term of note under chapter 13 plan.

Representative Cases

  • Melfi v. WMC Mortgage Corp., 568 F.3d 309 (1st Cir. 2009)
  • Bonney v. Washington Mutual Bank, 596 F.Supp.2d 173 (D. Mass. 2009)
  • Tenney v. Deutsche Bank Trust Corp., 2009 WL 415510 (D.Mass. 2009)
  • Deandrade v. Trans Union LLC, 523 F.3d 61 (1st Cir. 2008)
  • Megitt v. Indymac Bank, F.S.B., 547 F.Supp.2d 56 (D.Mass. 2008)
  • Dixon v. Calusa Investments, LLC, 554 F.Supp.2d 139 (D.R.I. 2008)
  • In re Chiappone, 2007 WL 4178510 (Bankr.D.Conn. 2007)
  • Dixon v. Shamrock Financial Corp., 482 F.Supp.2d 172 (D.Mass. 2007)
  • Sullivan v. Greenwood Credit Union, 499 F.Supp.2d 83 (D.Mass. 2007)
  • Park v. Ford Motor Co., 928 A.2d 469 (R.I. 2007)
  • In re Wilding, 475 F.3d 428 (1st Cir. 2007)
  • Palmer v. Champion Mortg., 465 F.3d 24 (1st Cir. 2006)
  • In re Montes, 2006 WL 3898386 (Bankr.D.R.I. 2006)
  • Morrissey v. Webster Bank, N.A., 417 F.Supp.2d 183 (D.Mass. 2006)
  • Belini v. Washington Mut. Bank, FA, 412 F.3d 17 (1st Cir. 2005)
  • In re Watson, 403 F.3d 1 (1st Cir 2005)
  • Hoefs v. CACV of Colorado, LLC, 365 F.Supp.2d 69 (D.Mass. 2005)
  • In re Ladds, 2005 WL 1365078 (Bankr.D.R.I. 2005)
  • Rodrigues v. Members Mortgage Co., Inc., 323 F.Supp.2d 202 (D.Mass. 2004)
  • Barrett v. Avco Financial Services Management Co., 292 B.R. 1 (D.Mass. 2003)
  • Mann v. Chase Manhattan Mortg. Corp., 316 F.3d 1 (1st Cir. 2003)
  • Arruda v. Sears, Roebuck & Co., 310 F.3d 13 (1st Cir. 2002)
  • In re Lamanna, 285 B.R. 347 (Bankr.D.R.I. 2002)
  • In re Singleton, 284 B.R. 322 (D.R.I. 2002)
  • In re Larocque, 283 B.R. 640 (Bankr.D.R.I. 2002)
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The bankuptcy, family Law and consumer protection lawyers at The Family and Consumer Law Center of Claude Lefebvre and Christopher Lefebvre, P.C., have offices in Pawtucket and Cranston, Rhode Island. The firm represents clients throughout Rhode Island and southern Massachusetts' communities including Providence, Warwick, Attleboro, Seekonk; and communities in Bristol County and Norfolk County, MA.
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