Federal Trade Commission

FTC Announces Revised Thresholds for Clayton Act Antitrust Reviews for 2014

On January 17, the Federal Trade Commission revised the thresholds that determine whether companies are required to notify federal antitrust authorities about a transaction under Section 7A of the Clayton Act, the Hart-Scott-Rodino (HSR) Antitrust Improvements Act.  The FTC is required to revise various thresholds set forth in the HSR Act annually, based on the change in gross national product.  For instance, for 2014, the size of transaction threshold for reporting proposed mergers and acquisitions subject to enforcement under Section 7A of the Clayton Act will increase from $70.9 million to $75.9 million. A full listing of current thresholds can be found on the FTC’s website, which will be updated once the revised thresholds are published in the Federal Register.

The revised thresholds under Section 7A will apply to all transactions that close on or after the effective date of the notice, which is 30 days after its publication in the Federal Register.  Full Listing of Current Thresholds.

Borrower Files Class Action Against EMC Mortgage Over Loan Modification Practices

On January 10, 2011, a putative class action was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington against loan servicer EMC Mortgage Corp. and its parent, Bear Stearns. The action is asserted on behalf of all EMC-serviced mortgagors in the State of Washington who have made payments pursuant to a temporary loan modification plan or repayment agreement while attempting to obtain a permanent loan modification (alleged to number in the “hundreds if not thousands”). It alleges that EMC has acted in bad faith, and engaged in improper accounting, bad recordkeeping, and misrepresentations during loan modification negotiations with mortgagors in the State of Washington. Specifically, the putative class representative alleges that, despite EMC’s repeated promises to modify her and other mortgagors’ loans and their compliance with the modification terms, EMC is improperly delaying permanent modification of the loans while at the same time charging excessive fees, inflating arrearages and continuing to threaten foreclosure. The Complaint alleges violations of the Washington Consumer Protection Act and EMC’s settlement with the Federal Trade Commission, along with claims for breach of contract, breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing, promissory estoppel, and unjust enrichment. Complaint.