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

Publications

Representative Engagements

Debt Collection

  • Edwards v. Oportun, Inc., No. 16-CV-00519-EDL, (N.D. Cal. 2016) (obtained favorable individual settlement of nationwide class action alleging debt collection calls violated the TCPA and Rosenthal Act)
  • Delgado v. Progress Fin. Co., No. 1:14-CV-00033-LJO, 2014 WL 1756282, at *1 (E.D. Cal. May 1, 2014) (granting motion to compel arbitration and dismissing with prejudice case alleging violations of the TCPA, FDCPA and California’s Rosenthal Act; case was favorably settled)
  • Koyoc v. Progress Fin. Co., No. CV 13-09165-RSWL, 2014 WL 1878903, at *7 (C.D. Cal. May 9, 2014) (granting motion to compel arbitration and dismissing with prejudice case alleging violations of the TCPA, FDCPA and California’s Rosenthal Act; case was favorably settled)
  • Obtained dismissal and/or favorably settled numerous cases alleging violations of the FDCPA, FCRA and California’s Rosenthal Act.

Privacy

  • Roberts v. PayPal, Inc., No. C 12-0622 PJH, 2013 WL 2384242 (N.D. Cal. May 30, 2013), aff'd, 621 F. App'x 478 (9th Cir. 2015) (summary judgment granted in favor of defendant in nationwide class action alleging that unsolicited text messages violated the TCPA)
  • Kissel v. Churchill Downs Incorporated, No. 2:16-cv-8561 (C.D. Cal. 2016) (obtained voluntary dismissal of class action claims alleging that text message advertisements violated TCPA)
  • Ryabyshchuck v. Citibank (S. Dakota) N.A., No. 11-CV-1236-IEG WVG, 2012 WL 5379143 (S.D. Cal. Oct. 30, 2012) (summary judgment granted in favor of defendant holding that confirmatory text messages are not actionable under the TCPA)
  • Jessop v. Capital for Merchants, No. 37-2012-00083740-CU-MC-CTL, Superior Court of California, County of San Diego (favorable settlement of class action alleging that recorded telephone class violated the California Invasion of Privacy Act) 

Credit Card 

  • Davis v. Chase Bank U.S.A., N.A., No. CV 06-04804 DDP PJWX, 2013 WL 169868, at *4 (C.D. Cal. Jan. 16, 2013) (denying certification of nationwide class action alleging that 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)
  • Davis v. Chase Bank U.S.A., N.A., No. CV 06-04804 DDP PJWX, 2010 WL 7919098, at *1 (C.D. Cal. Nov. 15, 2010) (granting motion for partial summary judgment and holding that successor liability did not apply with respect to credit card portfolio acquired by national bank)
  • Langley v. Chase Bank USA, N.A., No. 3:10-CV-587-O, 2010 WL 8266202, at *1 (N.D. Tex. Aug. 18, 2010), aff'd sub nom. Langley v. Chase Bank USA NA, 430 F. App'x 312 (5th Cir. 2011) (affirming dismissal of nationwide class claims alleging credit card payment posting order breached the implied duty of good faith and fair dealing under Delaware law). 
  • Milgram v.  Chase Bank USA, N.A., 2:10-cv-00336-GW-PJW (C.D. Cal. 2011) (favorable nationwide class action settlement of claims involving 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)
  • In re Chase Bank USA, N.A., “Check Loan” Contract Litig., MDL No. 2032, Case No. 3:09-md-2032 MMC (N.D. Cal. 2012) (settlement of multi-district litigation involving promotional credit card loan offers)

Debit Card

  • Amrhein v. Citibank, N.A., No. 4:08-5101 (N.D. Cal.), MDL No. No. 1:09-md-02036-JLK (S.D. Fla.) (defended national bank in nationwide class action alleging that the posting order of debit card transactions resulted in improper overdraft fees)
  • Dee, et al. v. Bank of the West, No. 4:10-2736 (N.D. Cal.), MDL No. No. 1:09-md-02036-JLK (S.D. Fla.) (defended bank in class action alleging that the posting order of debit card transactions resulted in improper overdraft fees)

Mortgage

  • Smith v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., 158 F. Supp. 3d 91 (D. Conn. 2016), aff'd, No. 16-611-CV, 2016 WL 7323985 (2d Cir. Dec. 16, 2016) (won the dismissal of claims of first impression nationally regarding the legality of whether a “close at home” mortgage kit can comply with timing-disclosure requirements of the Truth in Lending Act; currently representing the bank on appeal)
  • Defended national bank in actions alleging that origination and servicing of reverse mortgages violated state and federal law  

Securities

  • Elliot, et al. v. China Green Agricultures, Inc., et al., No. 3:10-cv-00648-LRH-WGC, 2012 WL 5398863 (D. Nev. Nov. 2, 2012) (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)
  • McGee v. China Electric Motor Inc., No. 2:11-cv-02794 (C.D. Cal.) (favorable settlement of nationwide class action claims alleging underwriter made material misrepresentations in offering documents for U.S-listed Chinese company in violation of Securities Act)
  • Feyko v. Yuhe Int'l, Inc., No. CV 11-05511 DDP PJWX, (C.D. Cal.) (favorable settlement of nationwide class action alleging underwriter made material misrepresentations in offering documents for U.S-listed Chinese company in violation of Securities Act)

Other Class Actions

  • Dentamaro v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., No. 3:13-cv-01369-AWT (D. Conn.) (settled a nationwide putative class action on individual terms which alleged violations of the Truth in Lending Act involving notices of repossession for yacht watercraft)
  • Abat, et al., v. Chase Bank USA, N.A., No. 8:07-cv-01476-CJC-A (C.D. Cal. 2011) (favorable settlement of nationwide class claims alleging violations of Credit Repair Organizations Act)
  • Abat v. Chase Bank USA, N.A., 738 F. Supp. 2d 1093, 1094 (C.D. Cal. 2010) (granting motion for partial summary judgment, dismissing claims under California’s UCL and CLRA as barred by Delaware choice-of-law provision in cardholder agreement)
  • Richard B. Clark, et al.  v. AdvanceMe, Case No. 08-3540 VBF (FFMx) (favorable settlement of usury class action alleging that merchant cash advances were disguised loans)
  • Christina Smith, et al. v. Levine Leichtman Capital Partners, Inc., et al., No. C 10-00010 JSW (N.D. Cal.) (obtained favorable settlement of Pennsylvania and California class action involving the operation of bad check diversion programs and alleging violations of RICO, FDCPA and state UDAP statutes) 
  • Donald Acosta v. US Foods, Inc., No. 14-cv-00612 (C.D. Cal) (obtained favorable individual settlement of class action claims under the FCRA alleging that company failed to provide him 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

  • Exotic Feline Breeding Compound, Inc.. v. California Department of Fish and Wildlife, et al., No. S-1500-CV-280453 NFT, Superior Court of California, County of Kern (obtained writ of mandate directing the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to vacate its denial of breeding zoo’s request for a waiver of the permit requirement for the possession and transportation of restricted species and 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