Plaintiff filed a complaint against a title insurance company and its publicly traded holding company alleging that the defendants improperly entered into exclusive agency agreements with numerous title insurance agencies, pursuant to which such agencies agreed to sell defendant's title insurance policies in exchange for the purchase of a minority interest in such agencies. Plaintiff alleged that these agency agreements were illegal under the anti-kickback provision of RESPA, 12 U.S.C. § 2607, which prohibits the payment of fees and/or kickbacks in connection with a referral related to a real estate settlement service. Plaintiff further asserted that she was affected by such an exclusive agency agreement in connection with the purchase of her home.
The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's decision, noting that the only disagreement among the parties was the "injury" requirement for Article III standing. The Court disagreed with the Defendants argument that plaintiff did not suffer a concrete injury because she did not allege that the charge for title insurance was higher than it would have been with the exclusivity agreement. In ultimately holding that RESPA gives rise to a statutory cause of action whether or not an overcharge occurred, the Court first noted that the injury required by Article III can exist solely by virtue of statutes creating legal rights.
Ralph T. Wutscher
Kahrl Wutscher LLP
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