“This is an extremely important systemic issue insofar as protecting Pennsylvania homeowners. Also of great significance is that it establishes that the legislature can regulate the activities of lawyers that are engaged in nonlawyer functions such as debt collection.”
Pennsylvania Justices: Excessive Foreclosure Attorney Fees Actionable
A law firm representing a residential mortgage lender in connection with foreclosure proceedings can be liable to a borrower for excessive attorney fees charged in violation of the Pennsylvania Loan Interest and Protection Law, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has ruled.
In a 3-1 decision filed Monday in the joint cases Glover v. Udren Law Offices and Johnson v. Phelan Hallinan & Schmieg, the court overturned a Superior Court ruling that held lawyers could not violate the law, referred to as Act 6, because the act specifically uses the term “residential mortgage lender.”
In the Supreme Court’s majority decision, Chief Justice Thomas G. Saylor said Section 502 of the act provides a broad remedy against anyone who collects excessive fees.
“In the statute at issue here, the legislature’s use of the term ‘person’ in Section 502, which it defined to include actors other than residential mortgage lenders, suggests an intent to hold accountable any of the entities that might have engaged in the abusive practices specifically prohibited in Article IV,” Saylor wrote. “The plain language of the statute does not exempt attorneys, debt collectors, or any other third parties from liability in this regard.“
Both Majority and Dissenting Opinions below…