In a putative class action by homebuyers seeking to recover treble damages under section 8(d)(2) of the Federal Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, the Third Circuit held that the statute’s plain language permits private litigants to sue if their real estate settlement transaction involve unlawful settlement service referrals or fee splitting. Plaintiffs alleged that their private mortgage insurance premiums were channeled into an unlawful captive reinsurance arrangement operated by their mortgage lender and its affiliated reinsurer. Plaintiffs further alleged they had a statutory right to a real estate settlement free from unlawful kickbacks and unearned fees, and the lender’s invasion of that right gave them standing to sue. The district court dismissed the case for lack of subject matter jurisdiction (see our December 27, 2008 post), but the Third Circuit reversed, and also rejected the lender’s argument that the lawsuit was barred by the filed rate doctrine. Alston v. Countrywide Financial Corp., No. 08-4334 (3d Cir. Oct. 28, 2009).