People: Joseph A. Escarez, Associate

Photo of Joseph A. Escarez, Associate

Joseph A. Escarez

Associate

Los Angeles - Century City
Direct: (310) 201-1595
Fax: (310) 551-8347
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Joseph A. Escarez is a senior associate in the firm’s Los Angeles - Century City office, and is a member of the Commercial Litigation and Financial Services Litigation practice groups.  He focuses his practice on the representation of financial institutions, with emphasis on the defense of consumer class actions and other complex matters.

Mr. Escarez has defended a wide range of actions brought against national banks, credit card issuers, mortgage lenders, specialty finance companies and Internet-based companies.  He has significant experience defending against allegations of consumer fraud, unfair business practices, and violations of federal and state regulatory statutes, including the federal FCRA, FDCPA, TCPA, TILA, and California’s UCL and CLRA.

Mr. Escarez is also a member of the Health Care Fraud and Provider Billing Litigation Specialty Team.  He represents welfare benefit plans and other payors in healthcare reimbursement and provider billing litigation under ERISA, RICO and state law.

In addition to handling active litigation matters, Mr. Escarez advises clients about legal and regulatory developments affecting their businesses to assist them with compliance and risk management issues.

Joseph A. Escarez is a senior associate in the firm’s Los Angeles - Century City office, and is a member of the Commercial Litigation and Financial Services Litigation practice groups.  He focuses his practice on the representation of financial institutions, with emphasis on the defense of consumer class actions and other complex matters.

Mr. Escarez has defended a wide range of actions brought against national banks, credit card issuers, mortgage lenders, specialty finance companies and Internet-based companies.  He has significant experience defending against allegations of consumer fraud, unfair business practices, and violations of federal and state regulatory statutes, including the federal FCRA, FDCPA, TCPA, TILA, and California’s UCL and CLRA.

Mr. Escarez is also a member of the Health Care Fraud and Provider Billing Litigation Specialty Team.  He represents welfare benefit plans and other payors in healthcare reimbursement and provider billing litigation under ERISA, RICO and state law.

In addition to handling active litigation matters, Mr. Escarez advises clients about legal and regulatory developments affecting their businesses to assist them with compliance and risk management issues.

Education

  • J.D., University of California, Davis, King Hall School of Law (2009)
  • B.S., California State University (2004)
    magna cum laude

Admissions

  • California

Courts

  • U.S. District Courts for the Central, Eastern, Northern and Southern Districts of California
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin

Presentations

  • "Hot Topics and Trends in Consumer Class Action Law for Companies Conducting Business in California," Webinar, presented by Seyfarth Shaw LLP (August 8, 2017)

Publications

Representative Engagements

Privacy

  • Obtained dismissal of nationwide TCPA class action alleging fax advertisements sent by provider of sample and assay technologies for molecular diagnostics, applied testing, academic and pharmaceutical research violated the TCPA.  The TCPA claims were dismissed on the grounds that the named plaintiff lacked Article III standing
  • Prevailed on summary judgment in favor of company operating worldwide online payment system against nationwide class action claims alleging that unsolicited text messages violated the TCPA
  • Obtained walkaway voluntary dismissal of class action claims alleging that text message advertisements sent by publicly-traded company operating casinos and racetracks violated TCPA
  • Summary judgment granted in favor of defendant national bank holding that confirmatory text messages are not actionable under the TCPA
  • Favorable settlement of class action alleging that defendant merchant cash advance company recorded telephone calls in violation of the California Invasion of Privacy Act (CIPA)
  • Settled class action claims against regional supermarket chain alleging that text message advertisements violated the TCPA.  The case settled on an individual basis for a nominal amount prior to plaintiff filing the class action complaint

Debt Collection

  • Obtained favorable individual settlement of nationwide TCPA and Rosenthal Act class action against fintech company that provides consumer loans to the Spanish-speaking community    
  • Prevailed on motion to compel arbitration of class action alleging violations of the TCPA, FDCPA and California’s Rosenthal Act against consumer lender.  The district court dismissed the case, which was later settled on favorable terms
  • Obtained dismissal and/or favorably settled numerous individual and class actions against national banks, credit card companies and other consumer lenders alleging violations of the FDCPA, FCRA and California’s Rosenthal Act

Credit Card 

  • Defeated class certification of nationwide class action alleging that national bank’s credit card payment posting order constituted breach of contract, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, violations of California’s CLRA and UCL
  • Prevailed on motion for partial summary judgment and holding that successor liability did not apply with respect to credit card portfolio acquired by national bank
  • Obtained dismissal of nationwide class claims alleging that national bank’s credit card payment posting order breached the implied duty of good faith and fair dealing under Delaware law.  The ruling was affirmed by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals
  • Obtained favorable nationwide class action settlement of claims involving national bank’s promotional credit card balance transfer offers and alleging breach of contract, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, and violations of TILA and state UDAP statutes
  • Obtained settlement of multi-district litigation alleging that national bank’s promotional credit card loan offers breached the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing

Debit Card

  • Defended national banks in multiple nationwide class actions alleging that the posting order of debit card transactions resulted in improper overdraft fees and violated various state UDAP statutes

Mortgage

  • Won the dismissal of claims of first impression nationally regarding the legality of whether a national bank’s “close at home” mortgage kit can comply with timing-disclosure requirements of the Truth in Lending Act  The ruling was affirmed by the Second Circuit.
  • Defended national bank in actions alleging that origination and servicing of reverse mortgages violated state and federal law

Securities

  • Obtained dismissal of nationwide class action claims alleging underwriter made material misrepresentations in offering documents for U.S-listed Chinese company in violation of Securities Act.
  • Obtained favorable settlement of multiple nationwide class actions alleging underwriter made material misrepresentations in offering documents for U.S-listed Chinese company in violation of Securities Act.

Other Class Actions

  • Settled claims against operator of beauty supply stores alleging that competitor price-matching advertisements and practices violated California’s UCL and CLRA
  • Settled a nationwide putative class action on individual terms which alleged violations of the Truth in Lending Act involving national bank’s notices of repossession for yacht watercraft
  • Settled nationwide class claims alleging violations of Credit Repair Organizations Act against national bank
  • Won motion for partial summary judgment in favor of national bank and obtained dismissal of claims under California’s UCL and CLRA as barred by Delaware choice-of-law provision in cardholder agreement
  • Settled class action alleging that merchant cash advances were disguised loans and violated California’s usury laws
  • Settled Pennsylvania and California class action involving the operation of bad check diversion programs and alleging violations of RICO, FDCPA and state UDAP statutes. 
  • Obtained favorable individual settlement of class action claims under the FCRA alleging that foodservice distributer failed to provide plaintiff with notice of its alleged intent to take adverse action based in whole or in part on a consumer report, along with a copy of the consumer report and a written summary of the his rights under the FCRA

Regulatory Enforcement Actions

  • Favorably settled Consumer Financial Protection Bureau enforcement action against automobile finance company alleging deceptive marketing of ancillary products.  In announcing the settlement, the CFPB lauded the client’s “responsible” and “Proactive” handling of the CFPB’s concerns and attributed its decision to impose limited redress (including no civil monetary penalty) to the handling of the case.

Compliance Advice

  • Advised numerous companies, including retailers, hotel operators, restaurants and non-profit organizations, regarding their ability to surcharge credit card transactions, potential liability and penalties under various state laws, and other available options to reduce credit card transaction costs  
  • Advised a national consumer lender in a comprehensive compliance review of all outbound calling activities for compliance with the TCPA, FDCPA and related state and federal laws
  • Advised a national operator of hotels, casinos and racetracks in a comprehensive compliance review of all text messaging activities for compliance with the TCPA and related state and federal laws
  • Advised a global biotech and medical research company in a comprehensive compliance review of all fax advertising activities for compliance with the TCPA and related state and federal laws

ERISA Benefits 

  • Defended welfare benefit plan in healthcare reimbursement and provider billing litigation under ERISA, RICO and state law, with a particular emphasis on “fraud, waste, and abuse” litigation

Tax Exempt Organizations

  • Prevailed on summary judgment in action by nonprofit research organization for property tax refund based on welfare exemption; case ultimately settled whereby organization would be entitled to exemption going forward

Pro Bono

  • Obtained writ of mandate directing the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to vacate its denial of breeding zoo’s request to waive the permit requirement for the possession and transportation of restricted species, to reconsider the waiver request in good faith and determine whether the breeding zoo met the criteria set forth in Fish and Game Code section 2150.
  • Handled several adoption cases for the Alliance for Children’s Rights