On the Pulse…Steady Guidance in a Changing Landscape: A Profile of Consumer Financial Services Litigation and Compliance Practice Group

Defense Digest, Vol. 23, No. 3, September 2017

By Joseph A. Hess, Esq.*

For more than fifteen years, Marshall Dennehey’s Consumer Financial Services Litigation & Compliance Practice Group has provided value-driven guidance in an ever-evolving area of the law. We focus on defending individual and class action lawsuits arising from claims brought under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA), the Electronic Fund Transfer Act (EFTA) and state consumer statutes.

A Focus on Litigation

Grounded in Marshall Dennehey’s storied civil defense background and litigation experience, the Consumer Financial Services Litigation & Compliance Practice Group represents financial institutions, creditors, debt collectors, debt servicers, debt buyers, auto finance companies, student loan lenders and servicers, telecommunication providers, collection attorneys, mortgage lenders and credit reporting agencies from claims under myriad consumer statutes. With attorneys experienced in motion practice, trial work, appellate advocacy and class action matters, this group is well positioned to represent our clients in every phase of litigation.

We represent our clients in state and federal actions brought by increasingly sophisticated consumer plaintiffs throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Delaware, Maryland, Florida and the District of Columbia. With more than 500 lawyers working in more than 20 offices throughout the East Coast, we possess a geographic reach and a valuable support network designed to efficiently assist with complex and unique consumer financial services litigation and compliance needs.

We aggressively defend claims in litigation, but we understand the value of cost-effective, thoughtful and practical representation of our clients. We begin by communicating with you openly and frankly to identify your particular goals and expectations with respect to a given matter. Equipped with our extensive knowledge of the law, our primary focus is to help you understand the potential exposure in each unique situation and to tailor a defense strategy to the needs of the particular case.

Among the many services our group provides are:

  • Defense of individual and class action lawsuits arising from claims under the FCRA, FDCPA, TCPA, ECOA, EFTA and state consumer statutes;
  • Representation in administrative investigations, as well as compliance and enforcement matters involving state agencies and other regulatory authorities; and
  • Advice to clients on compliance issues attending the consumer finance marketplace.


A Valuable Source for Compliance

A main focus of Marshall Dennehey’s Consumer Financial Services Litigation & Compliance Practice Group is advising clients on compliance matters in order to minimize lawsuits and to mitigate loss. This includes advising clients on managing compliance with respect to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and its regulations.

Attorneys in this practice group have represented and counseled clients in this area since 2001. This history of committed and successful practice allows us to guide clients in a way that only experienced counselors can. Our knowledge of the evolution of the consumer financial industry, combined with our understanding of the emerging trends in case law, litigation and defense of relevant claims, allows us to anticipate issues and provide value-based advice on technical compliance issues. Our practice group is available to review letters, recordings and recovery practices, and we are also available to give presentations or to conduct training seminars.

A Changing Landscape

The last decade has seen unprecedented changes in the area of consumer financial protection law, and the future is uncertain. For decades, the ever-evolving construction of such laws as the FDCPA, TCPA, ECOA and EFTA have guided the industry and the players within it. In the wake of the financial crisis of 2007-2008, Congress established the CFPB. Prior to its creation, the authority for a multitude of rules and orders came from consumer protection statutes that were divided among seven federal agencies. Under its broad discretion, the CFPB is tasked with deterring risk, protecting consumers from “abusive” practices, conducting investigations, enforcing the consumer financial laws, and interpreting and creating new regulation. Armed with good intentions, the CFPB has, nonetheless, created a shifting regulatory atmosphere not easily navigated by collection professionals.

Presently, the future of the industry is in flux. Recently, the constitutionality of the CFPB has been challenged, and potential reform to the CFPB is imminent. Similarly, inconsistent circuit court and district court interpretations of the relevant laws and regulations has made compliance difficult for collections professionals, especially those operating in multiple jurisdictions. However, our thoughtful representation and guidance can help you mitigate future potential losses and help you stay compliant with, and knowledgeable with respect to, the shifting law in this field.

Our attorneys maintain active memberships in industry-leading organizations and keep abreast of the evolving regulatory environment impacting our clients. While federal and state consumer laws are fluid, you can feel confident that Marshall Dennehey’s Consumer Financial Services Litigation & Compliance Practice Group is on the cutting edge of emerging trends in case law, litigation and defense of claims. Our practice group is available to assist you with your litigation and compliance requirements. We are also available to give presentations or to conduct training seminars.

*Joseph is an associate in our New York City office who can be reached at 212.376.6438 or jahess@mdwcg.com


Defense Digest, Vol. 23, No. 3, September 2017. Defense Digest is prepared by Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin to provide information on recent legal developments of interest to our readers. This publication is not intended to provide legal advice for a specific situation or to create an attorney-client relationship. ATTORNEY ADVERTISING pursuant to New York RPC 7.1. © 2017 Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin. All Rights Reserved. This article may not be reprinted without the express written permission of our firm. For reprints, contact tamontemuro@mdwcg.com.