July 19, 2011
The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear a case on standing under RESPA after the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a plaintiff did not need to allege an actual overcharge to have standing to sue. First American sought review in the Supreme Court, arguing that standing to sue for a RESPA violation requires an overcharge.
First American argued that the plaintiff did not suffer a concrete injury because she failed to allege that the charge for title insurance was higher than it would have been without the exclusivity agreement that was the alleged RESPA violation. The plaintiff could not make this allegation because Ohio, where the plaintiff purchased title insurance, mandates that all title insurers charge the same price. The Ninth Circuit agreed with the plaintiff that the damages provision in RESPA gives rise to a statutory cause of action whether or not an overcharge occurred.
The Supreme Court will hear the case of Edwards v. First American Financial Corp. in its next term beginning in October. The ALTA asked the Supreme Court to review the case to provide legal clarity in the area. The opinion of the Ninth Circuit can be found here.