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Class action remanded after Supreme Court decision

Where a district court certified a class of persons who alleged they were all affected by a lack of independent home appraisals, but the Supreme Court then held that each class member must have suffered concrete harm from the challenged conduct, the case was remanded to the district court for reconsideration in light of the new Supreme Court decision.


Plaintiffs in this class action are a class of all West Virginia citizens who refinanced a total of 2,769 mortgages with defendant Quicken Loans Inc. (now Rocket Mortgage LLC) from 2004 to 2009, for whom Quicken Loans obtained appraisals from defendant appraisal management company Title Source Inc. (now Amrock Inc.) using a request form that included an estimate of value of the subject property.

The district court certified the proposed class and granted summary judgment to plaintiffs on three claims: unconscionable inducement under West Virginia Code § 46A-2-121(a)(1); breach of contract and conspiracy. The court awarded a total of more than $10.6 million in damages.

Last year, this court affirmed in part and vacated in part the district court’s judgment. This court relevantly concluded that plaintiffs had standing because all of the class members had paid “for independent appraisals that … they never received.” “Instead,” it held, “they received appraisals that were tainted when Defendants exposed the appraisers to the borrowers’ estimates of value and pressured them to reach those values.” The court concluded that the “financial harm” involved in paying for a product that was “never received” was “‘a classic and paradigmatic form of injury in fact.’”

Three months later, the Supreme Court issued its opinion in TransUnion LLC v. Ramirez, 141 S. Ct. 2190 (2021), which addressed Article III standing in the context of a class-action case. Following TransUnion, it is clear that, to recover damages from Quicken Loans, “[e]very class member must have Article III standing” “for each claim that they press,” requiring proof that they “suffered concrete harm” from the challenged conduct.*

Defendants filed a petition for a writ of certiorari, arguing that plaintiffs lack standing under TransUnion. Earlier this year, the Supreme Court granted defendants’ petition, vacated this court’s judgment and remanded the case “for further consideration in light of” that case. This court then ordered supplemental briefing and held oral argument. Having considered the parties’ submissions, the court concludes that the district court should apply TransUnion to the facts of this case in the first instance.

Vacated and remanded.

Concurring opinion

Niemeyer, J., concurring:

I am pleased to concur in this court’s order vacating and remanding this case to the district court to apply the Supreme Court’s recent decision in TransUnion LLC v. Ramirez, 141 S. Ct. 2190 (2021). The Supreme Court vacated and remanded our decision in this case, giving us the task of reconsidering it in light of TransUnion. Because the district court entered its final judgment without the benefit of TransUnion, I agree that we should vacate its judgment and remand to allow the district court, in the first instance, to apply TransUnion to the facts of this case.

Alig v. Rocket Mortgage LLC, Case No. 19-1059, Oct. 28, 2022. 4th Cir. (per curiam), from U.S. Supreme Court. William M. Jay for Appellants. Deepak Gupta for Appellees. VLW 022-2-229. 10 pp.

VLW 022-2-229