Third Circuit Holds That Statute of Limitations Was Not Extended for Class Action Lawsuit
In 2005 and 2006, Christopher Blake and James Orkis took out mortgages from JP Morgan to buy homes. Then in 2013, they filed a class action against JP Morgan under the Real Estate Settlement and Procedures Act (RESPA), alleging a scheme to refer homeowners to mortgage insurers/reinsurers in exchange for streams of kickbacks. RESPA has a one-year statute of limitations that runs from the date of the violation. 12 U.S.C. § 2614.
Blake and Orkis argued that each kickback separately violates the Act and has its own limitations period. The court disagreed and held that the kickbacks ended more than a year before they sued, so the Act’s one-year limitations period would still bar their claims.
Blake and Orkis further argued that the statute of limitations had also been extended by a 2011 lawsuit filed over the same conduct in a California federal court, Samp v. JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A. The Third Circuit again disagreed and held that a pending class action tolls the time only for putative class members’ individual claims, not their class claims. The court explained that tolling class actions would cause problems in three ways. First, it would encourage duplicative lawsuits instead of reducing them. Second, tolling new class actions would be inequitable. Third, it would encourage repetitive claims and allow class claimants to stack their claims forever.
Blake v. JP Morgan Chase Bank NA, 927 F.3d 701 (3d Cir. June 19, 2019).