Eleventh Circuit Rules that Return of a Certified Mail Receipt Satisfies Regulation X of RESPA
In a per curiam opinion issued on March 1, 2017, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal of a complaint alleging that a mortgage servicer had violated Regulation X of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (“RESPA”) by failing to “correctly or timely acknowledge receipt of his [written request for information (“RFI”)].” See Meeks v. Ocwen Loan Servicing LLC, [Order] No. 16-15536 (11th Cir. Mar. 1, 2017). Regulation X requires that, within five days of receiving an RFI, mortgage servicers must “provide to the borrower a written response acknowledging receipt of the information request.” 12 C.F.R. § 1024.36(c). Plaintiff alleged that the mortgage servicer violated 12 C.F.R. § 1024.36(c) when it signed and sent a Certified Receipt on the same day as receiving the RFI and when it sent a substantive response nine days later. Plaintiff sought actual damages of less than $100 and attorneys’ fees and costs.
The Eleventh Circuit ruled, as a matter of first impression, that the mortgage servicer’s return of the Certified Receipt , which the plaintiff’s attorney “unquestionably received,” satisfied Regulation X. Alternatively, the Court affirmed the district court’s decision because the plaintiff “did not suffer any compensable damages from [the] alleged violation” and plaintiff’s counsel’s notice of error “falsely question[ed] the servicer’s receipt in order to create a claim for damages.” As to the claim for statutory damages, the Eleventh Circuit held that the plaintiff lacked Article III standing because he did not suffer a concrete injury-in-fact. Rather, because the plaintiff (and his attorney) “had undisputed actual knowledge of receipt of the RFI,” plaintiff “suffered at most ‘a bare procedural violation.’”