New York Federal Court Affirms Plaintiffs’ Article III Standing in Putative Class Action Alleging Violations for Failure to File Mortgage Satisfactions

The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York recently held that, in light of Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, 136 S.Ct. 1540 (2016), plaintiffs in a putative class action alleging violations of New York state statutes requiring mortgagees to file timely mortgage satisfactions have Article III standing.  See Jaffe v. Bank of Am., N.A., 2016 WL 3944753 (S.D.N.Y. 2016).  In the case, the plaintiffs sued the defendant bank for failing to file timely mortgage satisfaction notices for recording in violation of RPL § 275 and RPAPL § 1921 (together, the “Statutes”).  Plaintiffs claim they are entitled to statutory damages based solely on defendant’s alleged violations of the Statutes; they do not allege they suffered any additional harm based on defendant’s failure to timely file the proper documentation.  On March 7, 2016, the Court preliminarily approved a class-action settlement and conditionally certified a class.  After this approval, however, the United States Supreme Court decided Spokeo.  Accordingly, the court then analyzed whether the Supreme Court’s decision affects its prior ruling that plaintiffs have Article III standing.  The court, quoting Spokeo, held that “[t]o establish injury in fact, a plaintiff must show that he or she suffered an invasion of a legally protected interest that is concrete and particularized and actual or imminent, not conjectural or hypothetical.”  Although the court acknowledged that Spokeo held that federal statutes can define an injury and “give rise to a case or controversy where none existed before,” it noted that the Second Circuit has never made a similar finding regarding state statutes.  Nonetheless, the court found the reasoning of decisions in the Seventh and Ninth Circuits persuasive and held that state statutes “may create a legal right, the invasion of which may constitute a concrete injury for Article III purposes.”  The court then determined that the concreteness requirement is met because the Statutes create a procedural right to a timely-filed mortgage satisfaction notice, the violation of which is a concrete injury.  Accordingly, the court concluded that the matter would not be dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. 

For a copy of the decision, please contact Michael O’Donnell at or Michael Crowley at