M&T Bank Corporation, M&T Bank, and M&T Mortgage Reinsurance Company unsuccessfully sought to stay all discovery in a suit brought against it in a putative class action involving allegations that M&T violated the federal Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act. The named plaintiffs were individual borrowers who entered into loan transactions with M&T and paid private mortgage insurance through M&T. M&T placed the private mortgage insurance with certain insurers who then reinsured the policies with M&T’s captive reinsurer. This scheme was allegedly an illegal sham because it did not create a bona fide reinsurance relationship. Moving to dismiss, M&T argued the entire case was barred under RESPA’s one-year limitations period. Plaintiffs countered that, under the doctrine of equitable tolling, M&T’s fraudulent conduct prevented them from discovering the RESPA violation within the one-year period.
The court allowed the plaintiffs to conduct limited discovery related to the equitable tolling argument. This ruling was in part informed by the ruling from a different judge in a companion case, Riddle v. Bank of America. The Riddle court subsequently entered an order in favor of the defendants which the plaintiffs in that case appealed. M&T thus moved for stay of all discovery pending the outcome of the appeal of the Riddle case. The motion was denied. Although some overlap existed, the court found that the Riddle court had too narrowly limited the issue as to whether plaintiffs in that case engaged in due diligence following execution of their mortgages.Cunningham v. M&T Bank Corp., Case No. 1:12-cv-1238 (USDC M.D. Pa. Jan. 14, 2015).