Marisa Katz Presents on Forced Arbitration with Congressman Keith Ellison

On Monday, October 30, Marisa Katz co-presented a CLE at St. Thomas School of Law with Congressman Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) on forced arbitration clauses. Congressman Ellison addressed last week’s vote in the Senate that rescinded the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) rule that would have banned class action waivers in forced arbitration bans in consumer contracts.

Marisa discussed recent key U.S. Supreme Court cases on this topic and the Court’s continued role in shutting the courthouse doors to consumers, employees and small businesses. Both speakers discussed how to keep up the fight against forced arbitration and class action bans in the current political environment.

The presentation, “On Our Terms: Mandatory Arbitration Clauses Stopping Courts from Granting Justice,” was sponsored by University of St. Thomas School of Law’s Law Democrats.

Class Certification Granted in Class Action against Payday America

On Wednesday, April 26, Hennepin County District Court Judge Daniel H. Mabley issued an order granting Plaintiffs’ motion for class certification. Teske Katz Kitzer & Rochel represents a class of Minnesota consumers who took out payday loans from Payday America, Inc. between October 2, 2013 and December 31, 2016. The named plaintiff and class representative, Randy Holte, filed this lawsuit in 2015 challenging several of Payday America’s practices: (1) charging fees on payday loans in excess of the maximum rates allowed for closed-end loans, (2) failing to properly disclose the annual percentage rate, and (3) engaging in prohibited debt collection practices.

The Court’s order granting class certification is available here.

Teske Katz Kitzer & Rochel attorneys, Vildan Teske and Marisa Katz, have been appointed Class Counsel in this litigation. Marisa Katz, who briefed and argued the motion, noted, “Today’s certification order is a critical next step in our ongoing effort to stop the predatory business practice in which this defendant lends money to Minnesota’s most cash-strapped and vulnerable consumers.”

Teske Katz Kitzer & Rochel looks forward to its continued role in advocating for consumer lender compliance under the law and marketplace fairness.

If you have questions about the Holte v. Payday America, Inc. litigation, or believe that your consumer rights have been violated, contact us today for a confidential consultation.

Vildan Teske Quoted in Star Tribune Article regarding Forced Arbitration

vildan-testifying-in-senate

On Sunday, the Minneapolis Star Tribune featured an article about the current state of forced arbitration of consumer disputes: “Debate over forced arbitration finds its second wind, with help from events like Wells Fargo scandal.” Teske Katz Kitzer & Rochel partner Vildan Teske is quoted in the article, noting that there have been recent developments in the fight against forced arbitration in consumer disputes, but that the latest changes only provide a “patchwork of protection.”

Teske has been a strong and vocal advocate for consumers, particularly in the fight to curtail forced arbitration and to reinforce consumers’ rights to use the judicial system when they have been harmed. Teske has presented on the issue many times, including along with U.S. Senator Al Franken and other notable consumer rights experts. Teske has also testified before the U.S. Senate Judiciary committee.

For more information on consumer financial issues, consumer class actions, or forced arbitration, contact our firm or Vildan Teske directly.

Vildan Teske Presents in Program with Senator Franken in Washington D.C. on the Problems of Forced Arbitration for Servicemembers, Employees, and Consumers

On June 7, 2016, Vildan Teske presented on a panel discussing the growing and problematic use of forced arbitration clauses in consumer and employment agreements. The event, “Reforming the Ripoff Clause: Why Access to Justice Matters for Accountability and the Economy,” was hosted by the Center for American Progress (CAP). It included remarks by Senator Al Franken and Congressman Don Beyer on the issue of forced arbitration, followed by a panel discussion by a group of nationally-recognized consumer advocates.  The panel included Deepak Gupta of Gupta Wessler who argued on behalf of consumers before the U.S. Supreme Court in the landmark AT&T v. Concepcion case; Julie Murray, an attorney at Public Citizen; David Halperin, attorney and public policy advocate; and Vildan Teske. The event was streamed live and is available in its entirety here.

Over the past decade, and especially in recent years, the scope and impact of these consumer and worker “ripoff clauses” have grown immensely, undermining the private attorney general system that has long protected consumers and workers from poor-quality, fraudulent, or even dangerous products, services, and work conditions. Ms. Teske spoke on a variety of access to justice issues related to forced arbitration in consumer and employment agreements, including, in particular, debunking the myth that “opt out” clauses provide a legitimate opportunity for aggrieved consumers or workers to seek justice through the public court system.  

Ms. Teske is a nationally-recognized expert on the topic of forced arbitration, and testified before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on the topic. If you have questions about forced arbitration or other clauses that take away consumer and employee access to the public court system, contact Teske Micko today.  

Payday Lending Class Action, Filed by Teske Katz Kitzer & Rochel, Gets Green Light to Proceed in Favorable Court Order

On Monday, May 16, Hennepin County District Court Judge Thomas M. Sipkins, issued an order denying defendant payday lender, PayDay America, Inc.’s motion to dismiss a class action filed by Teske Katz Kitzer & Rochel on behalf of a class of consumers who allege that PayDay America sold them high-cost loans in violation of Minnesota law governing consumer credit and regulated lending. The Court’s order is available here

In particular, the Plaintiffs’ Class Complaint alleges that Payday America, Inc. charged certain fees for payday loans in excess of the maximum rates allowed for closed-end loans under state law, failed to meet certain disclosure requirements with respect to the calculated annual percentage rate, and engaged in prohibited debt collection practices in connection with the subject loans. 

Teske Katz Kitzer & Rochel attorney Marisa Katz briefed and argued the case in opposition to Payday America Inc.’s motion to dismiss. Ms. Katz noted, “This victory is significant for consumers across the state of Minnesota, who are all-too-often trapped in cycles of debt, often as a result of predatory payday lending practices.” 

The firm looks forward to prosecuting this case forward and its continued representation of Minnesota consumers. If you have questions about the Payday America case, or believe that your consumer rights have been violated contact us today for a confidential consultation. 

Vildan Teske, Doug Micko and Marisa Katz Present a CLE Update on the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2015 Term

On October 12, 2015, Teske Katz Kitzer & Rochel partners Vildan Teske, Doug Micko and Marisa Katz presented a continuing legal education (CLE) seminar on the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2015 term.

The presentation included an overview of the major employment law-related cases decided in the last term and the implications of such decisions in everyday practice. The seminar also touched on the Court’s current term and key cases that will be decided in 2016 both in the employment and consumer class action areas. The presentation was made as part of Minnesota CLE’s Employment Law Webcast Series.

Teske Katz Kitzer & Rochel Appointed as Co-Lead Counsel Representing Class of Auto Loan Borrowers

On August 26, 2015, the Hon. Gary Oxenhandler, state court judge  in Columbia, Missouri, granted a motion to certify a class of Missouri borrowers with consumer claims against Cavalry Investments, LLC, and appointed Teske Katz Kitzer & Rochel as Class Counsel.  Partners Vildan Teske and Marisa Katz are litigating this class action lawsuit along with the Missouri law firm of Angle Wilson Law LLC.

The class action lawsuit involves the sale of service contracts by certain auto dealers to consumers that require the consumers to use fluid additives before the protections of the contracts kick in.  The plaintiff class alleges that these contracts are insurance products that are being sold illegally, and that, as a result, the debt buyers that purchased these faulty loans are collecting on the loans illegally and taking advantage of consumers in violation of the law. 

$82 Million Jury Verdict against Debt Collection Firm

This week a jury in Kansas City, Missouri awarded a consumer $251,000 in damages and $82 million in punitive damages in a case against the national debt collection firm, Portfolio Recovery Associates, LLC (“PRA”).   PRA pursued the plaintiff, a Kansas City woman, for a debt she repeatedly told them was not hers.  She was represented by the law firm of Slough, Connealy, Irwin & Madden, a firm with which Teske Katz Kitzer & Rochel has co-counseled on several consumer class actions over the years.  The Kansas City Star has a story about the verdict here

Service Members to Receive Over $123 Million for Unlawful Foreclosures Under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act

The Justice Department today announced a major victory for servicemembers under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA). The Justice Department reached a settlement with a group of mortgage servicers for improperly foreclosing on servicemembers’ homes. The five mortgage servicers are JP Morgan Chase Bank N.A. (JP Morgan Chase); Wells Fargo Bank N.A. and Wells Fargo & Co. (Wells Fargo); Citi Residential Lending Inc., Citibank, NA and CitiMortgage Inc. (Citi); GMAC Mortgage, LLC, Ally Financial Inc. and Residential Capital LLC (GMAC Mortgage); and BAC Home Loans Servicing LP formerly known as Countrywide Home Loans Servicing LP (Bank of America).

The DOJ press release is available here.

Vildan Teske Presents about SCRA Protections at CLE

Vildan Teske presented a webinar along with Major Lyndsey Olson, General Counsel for the Minnesota National Guard, for Minnesota CLE. The CLE presentation was part of the Creditor/Debtor CLE Series.  Vildan’s presentation focused on the consumer financial protections contained in the Servicemember Civil Relief Act (SCRA).