(CN) – The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to review the standing of a woman who accused an insurance company of bribing title companies with millions of dollars to enter into exclusive referral agreements.
A federal judge in California had refused to grant class certification to the plaintiff, Denise Edwards, and it denied her request for certain discovery, but it refused to dismiss the complaint against First American and its subsidiary on the basis of standing.
The 9th Circuit affirmed the latter decision in June 2010, finding that Edwards adequately pleaded that she suffered injury to justify standing. A three-judge panel of the Pasadena-based federal appeals court agreed that the damages provision of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act of 1974 gives rise to a statutory cause of action even if an overcharge has not occurred.
On Monday, the justices took up one question from First American’s appeal, which asks whether Edwards has established sufficient injury for Article III standing, since she has not alleged that the charge for title insurance was higher than it would have been without the exclusivity agreement.
The 9th Circuit had said she did even though she could not make that argument since Ohio law mandates that all title insurers charge the same price.