Fourth Circuit Dismisses Title Insurance Overcharge Class Action

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Arthur v. Ticor Title Insurance Co. of Florida

(4th Cir. [MD] June 18, 2009)

A class action was brought against Ticor Title Insurance Co. under the federal Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act for charging excessive rates for title insurance policies and sharing the money with agents during home refinancings. The action sought treble damages for the overcharges in addition to compensatory and punitive damages for violations of the federal law, as well as negligent misrepresentation and civil conspiracy under Maryland law.

Affirming the dismissal of the action, the Fourth Circuit federal appeals court ruled that the federal claim was brought under the wrong statute and in the wrong forum since the statute does not relate to charges of excessive fees and the claims "cannot be squared with the plain language of the statute." With regard to the conspiracy and negligent misrepresentation claims under Maryland law, the Circuit Court held that they "warranted dismissal, primarily for want of exhaustion" of administrative remedies.

For a copy of the decision, click here

By Bryan D. Richmond