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Sixth Circuit: Condo Fees are a Debt Under the FDCPA

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) defines a “debt” as a consumer’s obligation to pay money arising out of a transaction in which the money, property, insurance, or services are primarily for personal, family, or household purposes.

The Sixth Circuit’s take on this definition? FDCPA debt, condo fees. Same difference.

Here’s how this came to pass.

Chase Suit in 'Cleveland v. Wall Street' is Moot

The foreclosure crisis hit Cleveland particularly hard. Between 2000 and 2008, Cuyahoga County, Ohio, (where Cleveland is located), recorded approximately 80,000 foreclosures. In 2007, County Treasurer Jim Rokakis described the city as “the epicenter of the mortgage meltdown in America.”

Cleveland responded in the classic American fashion: With lawsuits.

This week, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a federal court could have granted Chase Bank’s request to block the city’s claims. Not that it matters now, Legal Newsline reports.

Detroit's Ambassador Bridge is Not a 'Federal Instrumentality'

In 2008, the Michigan Supreme Court unanimously held that the Detroit International Bridge Company (DIBC) was immune from the City of Detroit's zoning ordinances because it was a federal instrumentality for the limited purpose of facilitating commerce over the Ambassador Bridge, which connects Detroit, Michigan to Ontario, Canada.

This week, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals held that the Michigan Supreme Court was wrong.

City Has Qualified Immunity in Foreclosure Warrantless Entry Suit

Pets are the forgotten victims of the housing market collapse. While we hear the stories of struggling families living on the streets or in their cars, it is easy to overlook the heartache those families face when deciding how, or if, they can care for their four-legged friends when they no longer have a home.

Today, we have a Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals case that involves such a problem, and demonstrates how a city's missteps in a foreclosure can lead to warrantless entry claims and qualified immunity defenses.

Picture this: A borrower realizes that she is going to lose her home. She leaves the house, and all her worldly possessions behind. Hardest of all, she leaves her cats.

Miles Christi Religious Order v. Township of Northville, 09-1618

Ripeness issue in an action under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act

Miles Christi Religious Order v. Township of Northville, 09-1618, concerned an action brought by a religious order and two of its members under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act and the Federal and State Constitutions against a town and its officials over a dispute involving the application of several zoning ordinances to a residence that the order owns in the town.

Gas company's claim, that a county's decision regarding an underground pipelines constitutes a taking of property which just compensation must be provided, dismissed for lack of jurisdiction

Texas Gas Transmissions, LLC v. Butler County of Bd. of Comm'r, 09-3743, concerned a suit for declaratory and injunctive relief, brought by Butler County and Texas Gas, seeking a declaration of the priority of their respective property interests and of the county's authority to order Texas Gas to strengthen or remove the pipelines underneath a certain road at issue at the company's expense.

Warrior Sports, Inc. v. Nat'l Collegiate Athletic Ass'n, 09-1395, involved a suit brought by a manufacturer and distributor of lacrosse sticks against the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), claiming that, by changing the rule that governs the size of lacrosse stick heads approved for use in NCAA-sanctioned play, the NCAA violated the Sherman Act and tortiously interfered with plaintiff's business.


US v. Carradine, 08-3220, concerned a challenge to a defendant's conviction and sentence for being a felon in possession of a firearm with intent to distribute.  In affirming, the court held that the district court did not abuse its discretion by denying his motion for self-representation.  The court also held that defendant cannot demonstrate that the district court committed plain error by proceeding with sentencing rather than providing him more time to review a report, and that the district court did not commit plain error by ordering that defendant pay the costs of impaneling the jury.  However, because the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 contains no express statement that it is retroactive, nor can any such express intent from its plain language be inferred, the district court's imposition of the 60-month mandatory minimum sentence is affirmed.


US v. People First of Tennessee, 09-5474, concerned a challenge to the district court's denial of the State of Tennessee's motion under Fed. R. Civ. Proc. 60(b)(5), requesting the court to vacate the injunctive relief and dismiss the case, in a case arising from the district court's original 1993 ruling that the state was violating the substantive due process rights of mentally retarded residents at a state operated home for mentally retarded individuals.  In affirming, the court held that the state has not put forward a single case or statute that could qualify as the significant change in law required to satisfy its initial burden under Rufo v. Inmates of Suffolk County Jail, 502 U.S. 367 (1992), and in light of this failure, the district court did not abuse its discretion when it refused to revisit the original judgment.

  • Spengler v. Worthington Cylinder, 08-3110, concerned a challenge to the district court's denial of defendant's Rule 50(b) motion and jury verdict in favor of the plaintiff, in plaintiff's age discrimination suit against his former employer under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act and Ohio's anti-discrimination statute.  In afirming, the court held that the district court did not err in allowing plaintiff's case to proceed to trial as the language in plaintiff's EEOC charge sets forth sufficient facts to put the EEOC on notice of plaintiff's retaliation claim despite his failure to check the "Retaliation" box on the charge.  The court held that plaintiff's judicial complaint set forth facts establishing a prima facie case of retaliation under the ADEA, and that the totality of the evidence in the record does not lead reasonable minds to but one conclusion in favor of the defendant on the retaliation claim.  Also, because plaintiff established the amount of his damages and defendant failed to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that plaintiff was not entitled to those damages, damages were properly awarded.  Lastly, the court held that the jury could have reasonably concluded that the supervisor's conduct was willful and therefore, liquidated damages were warranted.

    City of Cleveland v., Ameriquest Mortgage Sec., Inc., 09-3608, concerned City of Cleveland's public nuisance suit against twenty-two financial entities, claiming that defendants are responsible for a large portion of the subprime lending market in Cleveland and nationally that led to a foreclosure crisis in Cleveland.  In affirming district court's judgment in favor of the defendants, the court held that the joint motion precludes Cleveland from now arguing that the district court should have remanded this suit, and the district court properly permitted this case to proceed in federal court.  The court further held that the connection between the alleged harm and the alleged misconduct it too indirect to warrant recovery.

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