Consumer & Commercial Litigation


Ulmer & Berne provides in-depth litigation expertise to financial service providers in all aspects of consumer and commercial litigation. We have represented clients in virtually every type of consumer and financial litigation, including truth-in-lending and consumer disclosure, financial privacy, credit reporting and identity theft, federal preemption, electronic delivery of consumer financial services, credit discrimination, residential and commercial real estate and secured lending, secured financing, unfair or deceptive practices, deposit products and payment systems, commercial lending law and lender liability.

Because our litigators deal with financial institutions on a regular basis, we are adept at addressing the unique structural, regulatory and document production and retention issues that face financial institutions in litigation. We strive to provide quick answers to legal questions and informed strategic advice with less research time.

Ulmer & Berne also represents financial institutions in their trustee capacities, both as personal and as indenture trustees. Our trust litigation experience includes claims for breach of fiduciary duty, violations of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, trustee negligence and breach of contract.

Examples of our recent matters include:

  • Obtained favorable jury verdict on behalf of national bank defendant on claims of aiding and abetting a Ponzi scheme after defeating motion for class certification and obtaining dismissal on preliminary motion of seven other defendant banks and financial institutions on $65 million UCC and conspiracy to defraud claims in federal court action arising from handling of customer accounts.
  • Obtained dismissal of FDCPA and state RICO claims in putative class action against a financial institution and its attorneys alleging irregularities in state court foreclosure actions.
  • Secured the dismissal on a preliminary motion of four national banks and their holding companies in multi-million dollar putative class action involving National Bank Act preemption issues arising from claims that defendant banks improperly charged fees in garnishment proceedings in violation of state law.
  • Obtained dismissal on motion of putative class action alleging violations of Ohio UCC and Retail Installment Sales Act in auto repo activities on basis of federal preemption.
  • Successfully defended national bank in multistate litigation by 300 individual plaintiffs alleging securities violations and fraud arising from bank’s loans to investors in defunct company.
  • Successfully represented a large national bank in putative class action alleging violations of the Electronic Funds Transfer Act (EFTA); all claims dismissed at summary judgment stage by district court and affirmed by Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.
  • Successfully represented a large national bank and its executives accused of causing $40 million+ in damages to a major customer based on alleged violations of various federal securities laws and lending laws in Seattle state court suit.
  • Defended a national banking institution accused of breach of fiduciary duty under ERISA for failing to timely invest participants’ contributions to the pension and profit sharing plan of a major insurance company.

Ulmer Client Alert By: Frances Floriano Goins and Jennifer Monty Rieker Topics: Consumer & Commercial Litigation, Financial Services Despite initial criticism, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) Arbitration Rule became effective on Monday, September 18, 2017. Compliance with the rule will be required March 19, 2018. While companies will have...

Press Release   Ulmer & Berne LLP partner Frances Floriano Goins was named to the Benchmark Top 250 Women in Litigation. Ulmer partners Paul R. Harris and Joshua A. Klarfeld were included in Benchmark’s Under 40 Hot List 2017. Individual recognition for Goins, Harris, and Klarfeld comes on the heels...

Client Alert Topic: Consumer & Commercial Litigation By: Jennifer Monty Rieker and Frances Floriano Goins Jennifer Monty Rieker Frances Floriano Goins On Monday, the acting head of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Keith Noreika, requested that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) delay publishing its final Arbitration Rule. Noreika...

Press Release Ulmer & Berne LLP is pleased to announce that Cleveland-based associate Candice Capoziello recently became an Associate Board Member for Recovery Resources. Recovery Resources is a Cleveland nonprofit dedicated to providing prevention, intervention, treatment, and supportive services to initiate, manage, and sustain recovery from addiction and mental health...

Ulmer Client Alert By Jennifer Monty Rieker and Frances Floriano Goins Topics: Consumer & Commercial Litigation, Financial Services In a recent unanimous decision the United States Supreme Court held  that a company that collects purchased debts is not subject to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”). Henson et al....

Cleveland-based counsel Jennifer Monty Rieker was quoted in Law360’s recent coverage of Henson et al. v. Santander Consumer USA Inc. In Santander, the U.S. Supreme Court held that federal debt collection laws do not apply to banks that collect on debt that they buy. High Court Leaves Door Open For More Debt Collection Cases...

From Ulmer’s Broker Dealer Law Corner Blog By Jennifer Monty Rieker While most of DC was watching the Comey hearing, the House of Representatives passed the Financial CHOICE Act, which would significantly alter the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Dodd-Frank created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The...

Ulmer Client Alert Topics: Consumer & Commercial Litigation; Corporate Restructuring, Bankruptcy & Creditors’ Rights By: Jennifer Monty Rieker & Reuel D. Ash Debt collectors scored a win on Monday when the United States Supreme Court ruled that pursuing stale debt is not a violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices...

Ulmer Client Alert Topics: Consumer & Commercial Finance | Financial Services By: Jennifer Monty Rieker & Frances Floriano Goins The consumer class action landscape changed radically last May following the United States Supreme Court ruling in Spokeo v. Robins that plaintiffs must establish concrete harm and not rely solely on...

By Jennifer Monty Rieker Earlier this month, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued its monthly complaint snapshot report, which highlights consumer complaints about the mortgage servicing industry. The CFPB publishes these reports on a monthly basis, providing information about complaint volume and listing complaints by industry and state. Through...

Ulmer Client Alert By: Jennifer Monty Rieker In the first ever survey of its kind, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) asked nearly 11,000 consumers about their experiences with collections over the past year. Twenty percent of the consumers surveyed responded and provided unique insights into the American consumer’s view...

Ulmer & Berne LLP is pleased to announce the additions of George Hicks and Jennifer Monty Rieker as Counsel in its Consumer & Commercial Litigation Practice. Based in Ulmer’s Cleveland office, both attorneys joined the firm from the Cleveland office of Weltman, Weinberg & Reis, Co., LPA. “George and Jennifer...

“Anheuser-Busch Win in Alcohol Content Suit Affirmed,” Law360 March 22, 2016 “Anheuser-Busch Freed from Watered-Down Beer MDL,” Law360 June 2, 2016

Ulmer & Berne is ranked in 39 categories in the 2016 U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” rankings. Among these, the firm earns U.S. News – Best Lawyers highest rankings in 21 categories. The firm also ranks nationally in 16 categories. Firms included in the 2016 “Best Law...

Ulmer & Berne announces that six of the firm’s partners have been recognized in the 2016 edition of Benchmark Litigation as “State Litigation Stars,” a designation given to those individuals who were recommended consistently as reputable and effective litigators by clients and peers. The following Ulmer & Berne attorneys were...

[View Video] Tapping its pipeline of trial-tested litigators, Ulmer & Berne is announcing that three accomplished partners will lead the firm’s respected Business Litigation Practice Group. Cleveland-based partners Jeffrey S. Dunlap and Paul R. Harris will serve as Co-Chairs alongside Cincinnati-based partner Robin D. Miller, who will act as Vice...

Ulmer & Berne is recognized for the 13th consecutive year as a leading law firm in Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business. In the 2015 edition, Chambers USA recognizes 14 of the firm’s partners, including a Band 1 ranking for Michael N. Ungar, chair of Ulmer & Berne’s Litigation...

Ulmer & Berne LLP announces that four of the firm’s attorneys have been recognized in the 2015 edition of Benchmark Litigation as “State Litigation Stars.” The following Ulmer & Berne attorneys were selected in their jurisdictions: Frances Floriano Goins – State Litigation Star-Cleveland Jeffrey F. Peck – State Litigation Star-Cincinnati...

“Michael Nathan Ungar | Ulmer & Berne LLP” Cleveland Jewish News January 15, 2015 Perennial Super Lawyer Michael Nathan Ungar considers settlement of a dispute embroiling Case Western University among his most memorable cases of 2014. Read the full article »

Ulmer & Berne LLP is ranked in 40 categories in the 2015 U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” rankings. Among these, the firm earns U.S. News – Best Lawyers’ highest ranking in 23 categories. The firm also ranks nationally in 17 categories. Ulmer & Berne achieved a “Metropolitan Tier...

Ulmer & Berne LLP has been ranked within the top 10 percent of all law firms by The BTI Consulting Group, one of the nation’s leading legal industry research firms, in their recently published 2015 BTI Litigation Outlook report. The firm was selected as a “Litigation Powerhouse” and is named...

Ulmer & Berne LLP was named 2014 Ohio Firm of the Year by Benchmark Litigation at the second annual Benchmark Litigation US Awards held at the Essex Hotel in New York City on January 29, 2014. The US Benchmark Awards were based on a six-month research period involving extensive interviews...

Representative Experience