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Lawsuits against financial institutions in the San Francisco Bay Area saw a slight decrease in May 2010, with 134 new filings in Bay Area courts.[1]  This compares to 144 lawsuits per month in March and April, 129 lawsuits in February, and 114 lawsuits in January.
 
Of the 134 May lawsuits, the majority (41) alleged violations of the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) or other forms of predatory lending.  The second most common claim (37) accused financial institutions of wrongful foreclosure.  Other lawsuits against financial institutions alleged fraud, breach of contract, antitrust, unfair competition and ERISA violations.
 
Homeowner lawsuits remained widespread, with numerous plaintiffs claiming that banks unfairly allowed them to take out loans they could not afford and/or misrepresented the terms of the loans.  Plaintiffs also sued under many different theories for banks’ alleged failure to negotiate loan modifications.
 
In the employment arena, there were several claims of violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act for failure to pay overtime wages.  Other employment claims included age and disability discrimination and wrongful termination.
 
One new class action filed in May contends that a national bank engaged in an improper scheme to suspend and reduce credit limits on home equity lines.  Another class action filed in May alleges that a bank unfairly withdrew money from customer accounts to pay off old debts that were otherwise uncollectible because the statute of limitations had expired.
 
Several cities and government agencies filed antitrust suits in May against multiple financial institutions, alleging that the institutions accepted illegal kickbacks and conspired to illegally pre-select the winners of municipal derivate actions.
 
Cooper’s Financial Crisis Group offers expertise in handling the issues being raised in the nation’s current housing, finance, banking, and real estate industry turmoil.  Staffed by attorneys who are fully experienced in transactional and regulatory counseling, jury trials and complex litigation, bankruptcy, banking, and publicly traded securities, the Group stands ready to assist a wide variety of clients during these difficult times.  Immediately responsive and pursuing aggressive action plans, we have consistently produced highly successful results.  For further information, please contact Jill Rowe

[1] Federal courts for Oakland, San Jose and San Francisco, and state courts for Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco and Sonoma Counties.

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