Billings et al. v. Propel Financial Services

fter defeating a certiorari petition in the U.S. Supreme Court, Akin Gump has won a “bet-the-industry” case on behalf of Propel Financial Services in Billings et al. v. Propel Financial Services, which arose from multiple class-action lawsuits brought against the company.

The plaintiffs, Texas homeowners, sued Propel, which participates in tax lien transfers, in federal district court, contending that the transfers are “consumer credit transactions,” subject to the extensive requirements of the federal Truth in Lending Act (TILA). The defendants, which included competitors of Propel, moved to dismiss in all four resulting cases, arguing that TILA does not apply.

Propel won the first of two motions to dismiss, but lost the second, and its competitors lost motions in the two other cases. The cases were then consolidated for appeal with Akin Gump arguing on behalf of all four defendants, including Propel’s competitors. The federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau argued as an amicus in support of plaintiffs.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit ruled in the industry’s favor, holding that TILA does not apply to these transactions. After the 5th Circuit denied rehearing en banc, Akin Gump successfully defended against a certiorari petition in the U.S. Supreme Court—thereby preserving the victory.

Pratik Shah (Picture), co-head of Akin Gump’s Supreme Court and appellate practice, represented Propel in the matter.

Involved fees earner: Pratik Shah – Akin Gump;

Law Firms: Akin Gump;

Clients: Propel Financial Services;

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Author: Ambrogio Visconti