Brett L. Messinger concentrates his practice in the areas of international and commercial litigation; banking litigation and law; consumer class actions; actions under the Truth-In-Lending Act, the Fair Credit Reporting Act and the Fair Debt Collection Law; insurance defense and coverage; international and domestic cargo claims; and product liability. He also provides compliance opinions to the banking and title insurance industries in regard to the Truth-In-Lending Act, the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, and related federal and state law. Mr. Messinger is engaged in a national banking litigation practice, often handling cases and appearing in court throughout the United States, and he has developed large practices involving assisting foreign litigants in transferring and domesticating foreign judgments to the United States.
Mr. Messinger has appeared in cases throughout the country. In addition to appearing frequently in the jurisdictions to which he is admitted, he has been admitted pro hac vice and successfully litigated cases in various jurisdictions, including Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oregon, Texas, Vermont, Virginia and Wisconsin.
Mr. Messinger serves as counsel to a national debt buyer in numerous cases throughout the United States involving claims made under state and federal consumer laws, including the Fair Credit Reporting Act and the Fair Debt Collection law. In addition, he has counseled various companies seeking advice in developing products for compliance with banking laws, including the Truth in Lending Act, the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, as well as other state and federal laws.
Mr. Messinger has represented insurance carriers in mass products liability litigation. He has also litigated on behalf of insurance carriers in various cases involving the interpretation of automobile insurance policies under Pennsylvania law.
As counsel to a large multinational air cargo carrier, Mr. Messinger has litigated matters involving interpretation of federal common law, the Warsaw Convention, Montreal Protocol 4 and the Airline Deregulation Act. He also assisted companies in Asia, Europe and Central America in the transfer and collection of foreign judgments in the United States.
Mr. Messinger is admitted to practice in Pennsylvania, Maine, New York and New Jersey. He is a 1991 graduate of Widener University School of Law and a graduate of the University of Delaware.
Areas of Practice
- International and commercial litigation, lender litigation and liability, predatory lending claims, banking law, federal and state consumer class and individual actions, including actions under the Truth-In-Lending Act, the Fair Debt Collection law and the Fair Credit Reporting Act, insurance defense and coverage, title claims, international and domestic cargo claims, and product liability.
Represented a bank in an appeal of an adverse jury verdict in Massachusetts state court, in a post-nonjudicial foreclosure matter that sought to evict the occupants of a home who had filed a counterclaim under the consumer protection statute; the Appellate Division vacated the judgment and sent it back to trial court for a new trial.
Representing a national developer in Supreme Court, Kings County, New York in a boundary and ownership dispute involving issues of adverse possession and related claims.
Filed an action in Maryland to transfer and enforce a judgement for the State of Brandenburg, Federal Republic of Germany.
Represented owner of real property in Queens County, New York, concerning the enforceability of a deed received from an estate against allegations that the deed was not validly executed and delivered.
- Successfully enforced a multi-million dollar judgment from the Kuwait Court of First Instance that was transferred to federal court in the USA.
- Represented Ocwen Loan Servicing, LLC in obtaining a favorable settlement in a Pennsylvania Act 6 action, which prohibits the charging of usurious interest.
- Represented Ocwen Loan Servicing in obtaining a reversal in an appeal before the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, with the Court sending the case back with instructions to enter summary judgment in our client’s favor, in a declaratory judgment action asserting that the Lackawanna County Tax Claim Bureau had failed to properly follow the procedures outlined in the Pennsylvania Real Estate Tax Sale Law.
- Represented a national mortgage loan servicing company in obtaining summary judgment in a lawsuit to invalidate, by claiming forgery and fraud, the client’s lien on real property and related note in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of New Jersey.
- Obtained a summary judgment in the United States District Court for the District of Maine on behalf of a bank client on negligence based claims related to water damage to three condominium units in Maine in which the Plaintiffs were seeking a half a million dollars in damages.
- Obtained a summary judgment on behalf of a loan servicer in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania against a title insurance company who refused to provide a defense on all counts of a complaint alleging that the insured mortgage was not properly notarized and therefore, not enforceable. The court held that the “in for one, in for all” rule applied to title insurance policies, and that the title insurance company was therefore required to reimburse the loan servicer for its defense costs relating to the defense of the uncovered claims.
- Obtained summary judgement on behalf of a bank client in a ruling by the Superior Court in and for the State of Maine, dismissing plaintiff’s claims for breach of contract, rescission, negligent misrepresentation, equitable estoppel, and promissory estoppel.
- Won a dismissal with prejudice on behalf of a loan servicing company in the Southern District of Florida against a mortgagor who filed a suit alleging violations of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act ("RESPA") and its implementing regulation, Regulation X, 12 C.F.R. § 1024.36. The court held the mortgagor failed to allege actual damages and the alleged violation was not sufficient to support a pattern or practice entitling the mortgagor to statutory damages.
- Won appeal on behalf of First Tennessee Bank (First Horizon) before the Fourth District, Division Three, Court of Appeal of the State of California involving a failed residential home construction in Palm Springs. Also obtained the granting of attorneys' fees and costs in excess of $70,000.
- Obtained on behalf of Ocwen Loan Servicing, LLC, in Maine District Court, a dismissal of its case without prejudice, avoiding a dismissal with prejudice, in the wake of unsettled Maine law concerning a plaintiff's standing in a foreclosure action.
- Obtained on behalf of a mortgage servicing company in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia an order of summary judgment based on Bankruptcy Code precluding claims alleging violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).
- Obtained on behalf of Ocwen Loan Servicing, LLC an order from the Superior Court of Pennsylvania affirming a foreclosure action judgment.
- Obtained on behalf of JPMorgan Chase Bank a ruling from the Pennsylvania Superior Court affirming the denial of a motion filed by a couple renting a property upon which the bank foreclosed because the motion was filed after the foreclosure judgment was entered and the renters were not indispensable parties to the action.
- Obtained an order on behalf of a major bank from the Aroostook County Superior Court in Caribou, Maine, enjoining the City of Caribou from selling a property located in Caribou which would act to extinguish the bank’s mortgage.
- Successfully removed a quiet title action brought by two borrowers against the mortgage lender and loan servicer to federal court. Following removal, obtained an order from the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland granting motion to dismiss with prejudice, and dismissing in its entirety, claims of fraud and violation of the Maryland Consumer Debt Collection Act.
- Obtained a victory in a mortgage foreclosure action as Managing Counsel for Ocwen Loan Servicing, LLC against a borrower who was a sophisticated credit consumer with multiple investment properties. The court held the borrower did not have standing to challenge the Assignment of Mortgage and Ocwen had established standing to foreclose.
- Obtained an order from the Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on behalf of Ocwen Loan Servicing, LLC, allowing a secured creditor to proceed to a sheriff's sale on foreclosed property after not having been paid for 11 years.
- Obtained an order from the Delaware Supreme Court on behalf of Ocwen Loan Servicing, LLC, reversing a grant of summary judgment in favor of a borrower in a foreclosure action. Borrower's motion asserted that the investor on a loan serviced by Ocwen was not the proper party to bring the foreclosure action.
- Obtained an order dismissing an amended complaint with prejudice in a bankruptcy adversary proceeding in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Maryland, which arose when our client filed secured proofs of claims in the plaintiff's Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceeding.
- Obtained a verdict in favor of JPMorgan Chase Bank (Chase) following a bench trial of a foreclosure action. The court rejected the homeowner's assertion that the reinstatement of his mortgage by the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency operated to modify his mortgage and found him in default.
- Obtained an order from the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon granting summary judgment for a mortgage bank in a wrongful foreclosure action brought by an individual who had refused to convert her loan to permanent financing after the bank ceased offering one-time-close loans. Lannaghan v. First Horizon Home Loans, a division of First Tennessee Bank National Association, Civ. No. 10-6156-AA, 2011 US Dist. LEXIS 83761 (D. Ore. 2011).
- Obtained a decision from a trial court that a client's confessed judgment against the home of a couple to whom he lent approximately $1 million was valid and superior to second mortgage the couple had taken out on the property. Settled the matter for a confidential sum shortly thereafter.
- Obtained a defense verdict in favor of JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A. (JPMC) following a two-day bench trial in an action to quiet title to a residential investment property. Established that JPMC had sent the plaintiff a proposed loan-modification agreement more than one month before the sale, but that the plaintiff did not comply with the agreement's terms by sending back both the initial payment and the signed agreement.
- Litigated to conclusion an insurance coverage case in which the insured sought to recoup from the client insurance company the amount it paid to settle the underlying securities class action. The court held that there was no coverage under the directors' and officers' policy for the return of ill-gotten gains. CNL Hotels & Resorts v. Twin City Fire Ins. Co., 291 Fed. Appx. 220 (11th Cir. 2008).
- Litigated to conclusion allegations that a life insurance company issued a credit life insurance product in violation of the Truth in Lending Act and other state and federal laws. Class certification was denied, and class representative was unable to obtain a verdict at the trial of her individual claims. Porter v. NationsCredit Consumer Discount Co., 285 Fed. Appx. 871 (3d Cir. 2008).
- Admitted pro hac vice to act as lead counsel to a mortgage company in an action brought by a loan applicant who alleged that the company violated Fair Credit Reporting Act by accessing her credit report on multiple occasions, thereby causing her credit score to drop. After the company moved for summary judgment, the case was referred to mediation, where it settled for a minimal amount.
- Defended a U.K.-based cosmetics manufacturer against a suit for interference with business opportunities brought in New York state court by a cosmetics distributor located in New York and Germany. The case settled for the payment of $1 and the creation of an ongoing business relationship between the companies, resulting in profits to all involved.
- Represented a U.S. family who invested more than $4 million in a mortgage-related Ponzi scheme formed by four citizens of England. Brought suit and obtained an $8.3 million judgment against the defendants.
- Represented small English corporation that developed, invented and manufactured a chemical generator in its sale to a large U.S.-based corporation. As a result of the sale, the shareholders of the English corporation were paid a large sum for their stock and were made employees of the purchasing corporation.
- Represented Patriot Buick Pontiac GMC, Inc., a car retailer, in a litigation in which Williams Pontiac Corporation and its principal, Bruce Sanft, sued Patriot post-closing on an asset purchase agreement, alleging Patriot failed to pay more than $1 million due under the agreement and a personal note; after Patriot countersued for $225,000, alleging that Williams/Sanft breached the agreement. At trial, Patriot completely offset the amount sought by Williams/Sanft, and received a judgment in its favor of approximately $21,000; after post-trial motions and appeal, the Superior Court affirmed in favor of Patriot and remanded to the trial court solely to calculate pre-judgment interest.
- New York
- New Jersey
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
- U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
- U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania
- U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania
- U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York
- U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York
- U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York
- U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York
- U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey
- U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida
- U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
- U.S. District Court for the District of Maine
- Widener University School of Law, J.D., 1991
- Duane Morris LLP
- Partner, 2014-present
- Special Counsel, 2008-2013
- Associate, 1998-2008
- Raeder & DeRespino, P.C., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Voorhees, New Jersey
- Associate, 1997-1998
- Wolf, Block, Schorr and Solis-Cohen, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Camden, New Jersey
- Associate, 1995-1997
- Mannino Griffith, P.C., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- Associate, 1992-1995
- Law Offices of M.W. Pinsky, Esquire, Westmont, New Jersey
- Associate, 1991-1992
Honors and Awards
- Law Review, Note and Comment Editor, The Delaware Journal of Corporate Law
- AV Preeminent® Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell®
Civic and Charitable Activities
- Youth Coach, Cherry Hill Football Club (1998-present)
- Mr. Messinger can be found frequently on the soccer pitch, currently playing winger and striker for Gibbsboro Grays (South Jersey Masters Soccer League).
- Co-author, "New York Court of Appeals Issues Landmark Decision Clarifying Statute of Limitations Issues in Foreclosures, with Profound Implications for the Mortgage Industry," Duane Morris Alert, February 24, 2021
- Co-author, "City of Philadelphia Requests Proposals to Implement Online Auction for Sale and Assignment of Delinquent Real Estate Tax Liens," Duane Morris Alert, May 6, 2015
- Co-author, "Bankruptcy Court Finds Debtor Entitled to a "Free House" Because Mortgage Foreclosure Complaint Barred by New Jersey Statute of Limitations," Duane Morris Alert, December 16, 2014
- Co-author, "Maine Supreme Court Decision Limits Scope of MERS' Ability to Assign Mortgages," Duane Morris Alert, July 14, 2014
- Co-author, "New Jersey Bill Requires Creditors to Maintain Vacant Property During Pending Foreclosures," Duane Morris Alert, July 8, 2014
- Co-author, "Revised Common Level Ratio for Philadelphia May Entitle Certain Taxpayers to a Refund," Duane Morris Alert, February 20, 2013
- Co-author, "Pa. Appellate Court Issues Opinion in Dietz v. Chase Home Finance, LLC, Clarifying Preemption of State Common Law Claims by Fair Credit Reporting Act," Duane Morris Alert, April 16, 2012
- Brett L. Messinger and Lida Rodriguez-Taseff, "Book Review, R.A. Brand & S.R. Jablonski Forum Non Conveniens: History, Global Practice, and Future Under the Hague Convention on Choice of Court Agreements," Journal of International Banking and Financial Law, March 2009