Plaintiffs asserted class claims for RICO violations based on allegations that Bank of America referred borrowers to private mortgage insurance providers in exchange for kickbacks, funneled through a captive reinsurance company. Bank of America argued that plaintiffs’ lack of due diligence precluded them from tolling the four-year statute of limitations under the “injury discovery rule.” The Court found that Bank of America met its initial burden to establish the existence of “storm warnings” of the alleged wrongs, shifting the burden to plaintiffs to show that they exercised reasonable due diligence but were nevertheless unable to discover their injuries. The Court noted that before closing on their loans, plaintiffs received a disclosure explaining that their reinsurance could be placed with a lender-affiliated company, and plaintiffs were given the opportunity to opt out of reinsurance. However, the plaintiffs took no steps to investigate the reinsurance. Since plaintiffs did not exercise reasonable due diligence, the Court held that they had constructive notice of all facts that could have been learned through diligent investigation during the limitations period.
Plaintiffs also attempted to delay the accrual of the limitations period based on the “separate accrual rule.” Plaintiffs argued that each transmission of a periodic account statement was in furtherance of the RICO scheme and constituted a new predicate act of mail and wire fraud, which in turn, resulted in the payment of illegal kickbacks. The Court disagreed, concluding that the present account statements – even if each prompted and caused plaintiffs to make a payment – arose from obligations and facts already known and acknowledged at the time of the parties’ mortgage agreements and thus were not “new and separate.” As such, the Court granted summary judgment in Bank of America’s favor, holding the RICO claims were time-barred.
Weiss v. Bank of America Corp., Case No. 15-62 (USDC W.D. Pa. Nov. 22, 2016).