News Brief

D.C. Office Class Action Team Obtains Judgment on the Pleadings after Appeals Court Reversal

November 16, 2021

David Ross (Partner-Washington, D.C. | Baltimore, MD | McLean, VA), Kevin Farrell (Of Counsel-Washington, D.C.) and Jonathan Cornfield (Associate-Washington, D.C.) obtained a judgment on the pleadings in a class action brought against a financial services company client. After the case was dismissed in the trial court on res judicata grounds, the D.C. Court of Appeals remanded the case back to the trial court to determine an issue of first impression: What qualifies as a "holder" of a sales contract under the D.C. Automobile Financing and Repossession Act (AFRA)? The plaintiff alleged that because the company was assigned a sales contract entered into in Maryland with a vehicle dealer based in Maryland, it was subject to AFRA because it was licensed in D.C., and repossessed the vehicle in D.C. However, the trial court agreed with David, Kevin and Jon’s assertion that because the vehicle dealer was not licensed or required to be licensed under AFRA (despite doing business in D.C.), under assignment law, the company stood in the shoes of the dealer that had assigned the contract to the company. Therefore, as set forth in the contract, Maryland law applied instead of D.C. law, and the client was entitled to judgment against the class action lawsuit.

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