Eleventh Circuit Court holds that a certified receipt by the borrower satisfied the acknowledgment requirement of 12 C.F.R. § 1024.36(c) and that any defect in the receipt did not cause a “concert injury”

In Meeks v. Ocwen Loan Servicing LLC, No. 16-15536 (11th Cir. Mar. 1, 2017) the Eleventh Circuit Court held that a certified receipt by the borrower satisfied the acknowledgment requirement of RESPA and that any defect in the receipt did not cause a “concert injury” meaning the borrower lacked Article III standing.

In Meeks, the consumer sent via certified mail, a request for information (“RFI”) to the servicer which the servicer acknowledged receiving on November 10, 2015. The certified receipt was returned to the consumer’s attorney. On November 19, 2015, the servicer provided a substantive response. On April 29, 2016, the consumer sent a Notice of Error (“NOE”) stating that he was unsure whether the servicer had received the RFI.

The consumer then sued alleging violations of 12 C.F.R. § 1024.36(c) of Regulation X that the servicer failed to timely acknowledge receipt of the RFI thereby resulting in actual and statutory damages under RESPA.

The district court granted the servicer’s motion to dismiss holding that the signed certified receipt sufficiently satisfied the acknowledgement requirement of Regulation X. Furthermore, the court held that the consumer failed to sufficiently allege a concrete injury to confer Article III standing.

On appeal the Eleventh Circuit affirmed finding that the district did not err in dismissing the complaint. Regulation X provides in relevant part that, “Within five days (excluding legal public holidays, Saturdays, and Sundays) of a servicer receiving an information request from a borrower, the servicer shall provide to the borrower a written response acknowledging receipt of the information request.” Although the question of whether a certified receipt qualifies as a “written response acknowledging receipt” is an issue of first impression, under the undisputed factual circumstances of this case—where the consumer’s attorney sent the RFI and the attorney unquestionably received the certified receipt in response signed by the servicer—Regulation X was satisfied.

Relying on Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, 136 S.Ct. 1540 (2016), the Court also concluded that the consumer did not suffer a concrete injury. The consumer had undisputed actual knowledge of receipt of the RFI, although they dispute that its form was sufficient to meet Regulation X’s requirements. Thus, the consumer suffered at most “a bare procedural violation,” and not a real, concrete injury from the servicer’s actions.

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