As a member of the firm's Financial Services industry team, Jeff combines deep operational and compliance knowledge with a broad litigation background. He counsels financial services companies in the Code of Federal Regulations' (CFR) alphabet soup, new product development and review, and mortgage and other consumer lending programs. Jeff routinely drafts and negotiates financial privacy policies, agreements and notices encompassing information sharing and safeguards, the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA) red flags, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), state breach notification and records management. In addition to counseling on the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), fair lending and allegations of unfair, deceptive and abusive acts and practices, he defends clients in private litigation and governmental investigations and enforcement.
Jeff routinely interacts with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Trade Commission, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, state financial regulators and human rights commissions, the National Credit Union Administration and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. He also advises on a wide variety of state law issues, such as the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) Articles 3, 4, 4A and 9, subpoenas, garnishments and levies, account titling and ownership disputes, and licensing.
In the area of secured creditors' rights, Jeff advocates and defends clients in complex commercial loan workouts and restructuring, bankruptcy, receiverships, foreclosures of real and personal property, lawsuits on notes and guaranties, fraudulent conveyances and other pre- and post-judgment remedies in state and federal court. He represents secured lenders in commercial and residential real estate developments, manufacturing, floor-plan financing and asset-based loans. An experienced trial lawyer, Jeff has defended lenders in more than 35 distinct lender liability and inter-creditor claims.
Jeff's industry experience includes:
•Representing a financial institution in a regional commuter airline loan, including the defense of multiple lender liability and third-party claims, prosecution of counterclaims on notes, guaranties and replevin of aircraft, culminating in favorable settlement of all claims and the sale of aircraft.
•Obtaining reversal of summary judgment in conversion action of disputed collateral proceeds.
•Defending financial institutions in several class and mass action cases, including high to low item posting, various claims against users of the Mortgage Electronic Registration System (MERS), FDCPA, TCPA, noncustomer check cashing fees and the duties of an indenture trustee to bondholders, resulting in dismissal, grant of summary judgment or favorable settlement.
•Advising financial services companies in developing and participating in tribal affiliation, consumer lending and servicer-developed products and programs.
Before joining the firm, Jeff was Counsel for the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), where he dealt with all aspects of the agency's lending programs and supervised lenders making SBA loans. He also was Associate General Counsel and Head of Litigation for Magna Group Inc. and Magna Bank N.A.
•Obtained nearly full reversal of summary judgment in favor of plaintiff in a conversion action concerning disputed collateral proceeds. The U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit, remanded the matter, finding client could not have converted collateral proceeds as a matter of law because our client received funds in the ordinary course of the debtor's business. The Eighth Circuit severely restricted the alleged conversion time frame and also adopted client's position with regard to the measure of damages, further reducing plaintiff's ability to adduce damages. Thereafter, the matter was settled on favorable terms.
•Represented one of the 10 largest U.S. banks in a Missouri high to low posting putative class action lawsuit. After removing the matter to federal court under the Class Action Fairness Act, persuaded the district court to enforce arbitration and class action waiver provisions in the deposit agreement, thereby avoiding multidistrict litigation pending in Florida. Shortly thereafter the matter settled for a nominal amount.
•During the course of a 75-loan, $25 million workout to four interrelated obligors, discovered borrowers had sold real property collateral to more than 30 buyers by contract for deed and retained sale payments in violation of loan covenants. In the loan workout, borrowers hired a chief restructuring officer acceptable to lender to protect existing collateral, sold a large apartment complex loan for the full principal balance, superintended borrowers' voluntary sale of certain collateral, foreclosed on more than 60 parcels of property in Missouri, Tennessee, Mississippi, Florida and Arizona and defended several lawsuits seeking to enjoin foreclosures or challenging lender's security interest against claims by contract for deed purchasers.
•In a large regional airline loan, guarantors filed a pre-emptive lender liability lawsuit including claims under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA), breach of contract and breach of duties. Prosecuted counterclaims on the notes, guaranties and for replevin of the aircraft. Defeated several third-party challenges to the validity and priority of bank's lien, and then sold the aircraft on favorable terms.
•Represented super-regional bank in several loans secured by shopping malls in Missouri. Upon default, rent assignment letters were sent to all tenants. Borrower claimed no default existed and interfered with lender's exercise of this remedy. Bank filed an action seeking a declaratory judgment to enforce the invocation of the rent assignment and the state court found in favor of client. Foreclosures were later initiated on the malls, leading the borrower to file a Chapter 11. In the bankruptcy, borrower also filed a five-count adversary proceeding alleging claims under ECOA, breach of contract, breach of duty and for tortious interference of contract. As part of debtor's Chapter 11 confirmed plan of reorganization, debtor paid bank in full, including accrued default interest and attorneys' fees and dismissed the adversary proceeding with prejudice.
•Counseled bank with respect to large check-kiting scheme and related out-of-trust car dealership loan. Upon learning of a nearly $1 million check-kiting scheme, advised client to immediately stop payment of all outstanding checks while continuing to receive deposits, thereby eliminating the negative uncollected funds balance in two days. Advised client to immediately review all existing relationships, which uncovered that the customer, a car dealership was 30 cars out of trust, or $750,000, short on inventory. Drafted a forbearance agreement resulting in the immediate payment of $250,000 by official check, wresting control of the dealership and eventually selling the dealership without loss. Defended conspiracy, fraud and deception claims brought by another bank for losses suffered in the check-kiting and counterclaimed against that bank for stopping payment on the $250,000 official check. Upon the court's grant of summary judgment for the client on the claims and counterclaims, recouped the face value of the official check, prejudgment interest and attorneys' fees and costs.
•In a putative nationwide class action matter filed in Madison County, Ill., challenging a national bank's ability to charge a check-cashing fee to a noncustomer as a wrongful dishonor, obtained the outright dismissal of the third amended complaint by the Illinois Appellate Court's Fifth District. The Appellate Court accepted argument that federal law pre-empted state law and allowed the imposition of the fee per the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency's interpretive guidance.
•Represented clients in many individual, class and mass action matters that challenged numerous aspects of MERS. Obtained orders severing and dismissing two MERS mass action cases with more than 300 plaintiffs and 30 defendants pending in New York federal court.
•Advised Internet payday lender and related companies in a Federal Trade Commission civil investigation resulting in a closed file letter from the FTC.
•On behalf of a state bank, reviewed and negotiated servicer-crafted lending program for customers of national big box hardware company. Advised bank on all areas of operations and compliance to insure servicer complied with financial privacy and information sharing, Truth in Lending Act (TILA), fair lending, information management, Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), marketing, servicing, usury and other state law contract issues.
5.15.14 Corporate Counsel CLE, Anatomy of the Target Data Breach, and Lessons Learned
Seminar St. Louis, MO
12.05.13 Social Media - Why It Matters, St. Louis Risk Management Association
Speaking Engagement St. Louis, MO
10.25.13 Lending Compliance for Retail Credit Sellers, Missouri Credit Association
Speaking Engagement Branson, MO
10.24.13 Garnishment Update, Missouri Bankers Association, 2013 Legal Issues Conference
Speaking Engagement Columbia, MO
9.19.13 Handling Garnishments, Missouri Bankers Association, 2013 Legal Issues Conference
Speaking Engagement Lake of the Ozarks, MO
1.01.13 Legal Panel Litigation Update, Risk Management Association, St. Louis Chapter
Speaking Engagement St. Louis, MO
10.01.12 Bank Litigation Issues, Missouri Bankers Association
Speaking Engagement Columbia, MO
5.15.12 Legal Updates for Financial Institutions
Seminar Omaha, NE
4.26.12 Legal Updates for Financial Institutions
Seminar Kansas City, MO
1.19.12 Dealing with the Desperate Debtor - Emerging Theories of Lender Liability
Speaking Engagement St. Louis, MO
In The News
4.25.14 St. Louis Business Journal: Husch Blackwell Partner Jeff Heuer Cites Growing Trend of Credit Union Mergers Post-Dodd-Frank
3.11.10 St. Louis Business Journal: Overdraft Changes Could Impact Fee-Based Income