Hawaii Federal Court Dismisses RESPA and TILA Claims as Untimely

The United States District Court for the District of Hawaii recently dismissed claims brought by a homeowner under the Truth in Lending Act ("TILA") and the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act ("RESPA"), finding that they were outside the relevant limitations periods. See Mathias v. HomeStreet Bank, Inc., 2021 WL 2534557 (D. Haw. June 21, 2021).  In the case, plaintiff refinanced his residential mortgage on March 1, 2018.  According to plaintiff, defendants failed to provide certain mandatory disclosures to him, including regarding the right to rescind, in violation of RESPA and TILA, among other issues.  On March 22, 2021, plaintiff filed this action seeking to rescind the loan under TILA and seeking statutory damages under RESPA and TILA.  The defendants moved to dismiss.

The District Court granted the defendants’ motion to dismiss.  First, the Court dismissed the rescission claim.  Under TILA, a consumer has the right to rescind within three business days if the consumer was provided with all necessary disclosures, and three years if the consumer was not.  In this case, the Court found that even if plaintiff did not receive the disclosures, more than three years had passed and the claim therefore is time barred.  In doing so, the Court rejected plaintiff’s argument that the three-year period began to run on April 18, 2018, when plaintiff received a "revised Closing disclosure."  The Court found that, unlike section 1635(a) of TILA, which says that certain time periods begin to run "when the loan has been consummated or upon receipt of 'material disclosures,' 'whichever is later,'" section 1635(f) holds that the three-year period begins on "the date of consummation of the transaction or upon the sale of the property, whichever occurs first."  Thus, the March 1, 2018 refinance date applied here, regardless of if defendants provided disclosures in April.  Second, the Court found that the damages claims were also time barred.  There is a one-year limitations period for statutory damages under both TILA (15 U.S.C. § 1640) and RESPA (12 U.S.C. § 2614), and plaintiff brought this action well outside that period.  Although the Court acknowledges that some claims may be equitably tolled, it found that plaintiff did not allege that here.  Accordingly, the Court dismissed the complaint.

For a copy of the decision, please contact Michael O’Donnell at modonnell@riker.com, Michael Crowley at mcrowley@riker.com, or Desiree McDonald at dmcdonald@riker.com.