Published on:

STSW Strikes RESPA Claim

STSW lawyer Bill Sinclair recently convinced a Maryland state judge that he should strike an amended complaint that contained a RESPA claim against STSW’s client, Lakeview Title. The plaintiffs were home purchasers who originally brought suit in 2010 against Long & Foster, Creig Northrop, and various related entities and individuals for alleged fraud in the sale and purchase of their homes.

In February 2012, plaintiffs subpoenaed certain information from Lakeview Title, which provided settlement services to the purchasers. However, plaintiffs waited until March 2013, after the Court had already dismissed the other claims, to amend their complaint and add a RESPA claim against Lakeview and others. On behalf of Lakeview, STSW argued that the Court should strike the amended complaint because it violated the scheduling order in place and because plaintiffs were on notice of the RESPA claims in February 2012 but waited until March 2013 to file suit in violation of RESPA’s one year statute of limitations.

The Circuit Court for Howard County agreed with Lakeview and its co-defendants, who also sought summary judgment on the RESPA claims in addition to moving to strike those claims. But rather than grant summary judgment on those claims, which would be reviewed under a more lenient de novo standard, the Court struck the complaint, a decision to be reviewed under an abuse of discretion standard. The case is now on appeal to the Court of Special Appeals.

Sinclair is also defending Lakeview in a putative class action filed in the United States District Court of the District of Maryland, Baehr v. Long & Foster, et al., 1:13-cv-933-WDQ.

STSW is widely recognized as one of the premier litigation and trial firms in the Mid-Atlantic region. Sinclair is a 2013 Maryland Super Lawyer in the area of business litigation and can be reached at (410) 385-9116 or bsinclair@mdattorney.com.