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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

District Court certifies class challenging online lender’s rates

Courts Tribal Lending Usury Class Action Online Lending Consumer Finance


On April 23, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California granted class certification to residents who received loans from an online lender, allowing them to pursue class claims based on allegations they were charged interest rates that exceeded state limits for lenders claiming tribal immunity. The class of borrowers include California residents who collected loans from an Oklahoma-based tribe, and California residents who received loans from a Montana-based tribe before June 2016. The district court held that the proposed class met the requirements for certification, including that the borrowers brought a common, predominant claim, and found that data from a separate settlement, which contained defendant’s consumer-level account information, could be used to establish damages. Although the defendants highlighted an error in the data regarding a plaintiff's residency, the court held that such an error was not substantial enough to undermine the entire data set, because “[d]espite the error … [the] consumer-level data for each transaction provides a fair basis for identifying the scope of the class and aggregate damages for the California class.”

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