Our trial and appellate litigation practice includes both state and federal courts, from trial courts to the United States Supreme Court. In the United States Supreme Court, for example, we won two cases involving retail banking activities for financial institution clients: Beneficial National Bank and Beneficial Tax Masters Inc. v. Anderson, (establishing "complete preemption” basis for removal for cases involving challenge to interest charges by national banks); and Pfennig v. Household Credit Services, Inc. (over-limit charges not "finance charges” under the Truth in Lending Act).

Over the last two decades, on behalf of individual financial institutions and associations, we have litigated cases that have expanded the powers of regulated financial institutions to engage in new activities; defined and limited the authority of the various federal bank regulatory agencies; and confirmed the scope of federal preemption against states attempting to exert control over federally authorized financial activities.

Our lawyers have been very active in representing financial institutions in federal and state courts throughout the country in high stakes class actions and other cases involving consumer financial products, including:

  • Representation of financial institution parties in recent terms of the United States Supreme Court on preemption, jurisdictional matters and substantive banking: Cuomo v. The Clearing House Association; Ford Motor Company and Citibank (South Dakota) N.A. v. McCauley;Beneficial National Bank v. Anderson;Household Credit Services, Inc. v. Pfennig; and representation of financial institution trade groups as amici curiae in multiple additional cases.
  • Representation of a major payment card issuer in a series of class actions consolidated in the Eastern District of New York pursuant to the MDL process, challenging on antitrust grounds the credit card Interchange fees paid by merchants.
  • Representation of a major credit card issuer in a series of class actions against credit card issuers, consolidated in the Southern District of New York pursuant to the MDL process, challenging on antitrust and disclosure grounds the treatment of foreign exchange on credit card transactions initiated by US consumers when abroad.
  • Representation of Sears, Roebuck and Co., being retained after a federal district court had certified a class allegedly consisting of at least one million Sears customers who had filed for bankruptcy with balances due to Sears on their Sears credit cards. We successfully obtained interlocutory review, and the subsequent reversal, by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit of the district court's class certification decision.
  • Representation of Fannie Mae in a putative class action asserting ECOA and FCRA claims challenging the operation of Fannie Mae's automated underwriting system.
  • Representation of a major credit card issuer in litigation in the Northern District of California in putative class litigation challenging credit card late and overlimit fees on antitrust and "punitive damages" grounds, and on plaintiffs' appeal in the Ninth Circuit.
  • Representation of major mortgage lenders in multiple class actions challenging loan changes and disclosures under New York, West Virginia and federal law.
  • Representation of financial services trade associations in successful litigations in the US District Court in Connecticut, and in State Court in New York, challenging various enactments regarding lending terms on grounds of preemption.
  • Representation of Citibank (South Dakota), N.A. in a series of class actions, consolidated pursuant to the MDL process, against Citibank and Ford challenging the cancellation of a jointly sponsored credit card program with several million cardholders.
  • Representation of a major national lender in a number of class actions seeking to impose liability on the assignees of mortgage loans based solely on the alleged disclosure failures and other loan practices of the originating lenders.
  • Representation of a national bank and its operating subsidiary in a high profile investigation into mortgage lending practices based on publicly available HMDA data brought by the Office of the New York Attorney General Elliot Spitzer.
  • Representation of a major bank in litigations concerning the application of abandoned property laws and the authority of state activities to examine banks' compliance with such laws.
  • Representation of five top-ten credit card issuers in various nationwide class actions alleging delays in posting credit card payments in violation of regulatory requirements and contractual commitments.
  • Representation of three major credit card issuers in a series of nationwide class actions under the Bankruptcy Code claiming that proofs of claims in Chapter 13 bankruptcies were systematically miscalculated to include post-filing interest and other charges.
  • Representation of Nationwide Financial Services in several major class actions, including: an ERISA class action alleging breach of fiduciary duties and prohibited transactions in connection with 401(k) plans; a class action alleging fraud in connection with the sale of annuities into tax-deferred retirement plans; a class action raising "market timing" issues in connection with trading of mutual fund shares; and a class and derivative action arising out of a change of control transaction. Lawyers at the firm defeated class certification in another class action alleging "clone fund" misrepresentation in connection with variable life insurance and annuity sub-accounts, and achieved a settlement in a life insurance sales practice transaction that was far lower than the average amount for others in the industry.
  • Representation of GE Financial and GE Capital in several major class actions and individual cases alleging fraud in connection with the sale of life insurance products and breach of contract in connection with "auto crash part" repairs. Won motion to dismiss sales practice fraud claims on behalf of GE Capital.
  • Representation of The Equitable and AXA Financial Advisors in class actions that allege securities fraud in connection with the sale of variable annuities into tax-deferred retirement plans and a class action that alleges registration violations under the Investment Company Act of 1940. Won a motion to dismiss securities fraud and deceptive trade practice class action arising out of the sale of annuities, and successfully defended that result in the Ninth Circuit.
  • Representation of American Express Financial Advisors in a national class action alleging fraud in connection with the sale of annuities and in two national class actions alleging market conduct fraud claims.
  • Representation of Unum Provident in national class action alleging sales practice fraud claims.
  • Representation of the Principal Financial Group in class actions alleging life insurance and annuity sales practice fraud claims.

We have substantial experience in crafting consumer arbitration agreements and the successful enforcement of such agreements in Federal and State courts. We have appeared in the United States Supreme Court, and in Federal and State courts of appeals and trial courts on behalf of major financial institutions, the American Bankers Association and other financial institution trade groups, in such cases.

Our trial and appellate litigation practice includes both state and federal courts, from trial courts to the United States Supreme Court. In the United States Supreme Court, for example, we won two cases involving retail banking activities for financial institution clients: Beneficial National Bank and Beneficial Tax Masters Inc. v. Anderson, (establishing "complete preemption” basis for removal for cases involving challenge to interest charges by national banks); and Pfennig v. Household Credit Services, Inc. (over-limit charges not "finance charges” under the Truth in Lending Act).

Over the last two decades, on behalf of individual financial institutions and associations, we have litigated cases that have expanded the powers of regulated financial institutions to engage in new activities; defined and limited the authority of the various federal bank regulatory agencies; and confirmed the scope of federal preemption against states attempting to exert control over federally authorized financial activities.

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Brown, Reginald J.

Reginald J. Brown

Chair, Financial Institutions Group

+1 202 663 6430 (t)

reginald.brown@wilmerhale.com