July 10, 2014 4th Circuit published opinions

Petry v Prosperity Mortgage Company

Petry brought a class action suit against Prosperity alleging it collected illegal finder’s fees when Petry purchased a house and Prosperity arranged for the mortgage loan. The district court ruled there were no finder’s fees collected and entered judgment for Prosperity. The panel affirmed. It held that the finder’s fee claim could only be brought against a mortgage broker, that Prosperity was listed as the lender in the loan documents and entities listed as lender on loan documents cannot be a mortgage broker under the plain language of Maryland’s statutory definition. Thus, the finder’s fee claim failed as a matter of law.

Marshall v James B. Nutter & Co.

Marshal sued Nutter alleging a civil conspiracy to violate Maryland’s finder fee statue. The district court ruled Nutter was not legally capable of violating the statute and granted summary judgment to Nutter. The panel affirmed. It held that under Maryland common law, civil conspiracy can only be committed by an entity legally capable of the underlying tort or statutory violation. Here, Maryland law limited the finder fee statute to mortgage brokers, Nutter was alleged to be a funding lender and not a broker and thus it had no legal capacity to violate the statute. Thus, summary judgment was proper.

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