Carter v. Welles-Bowen Realty, Inc.

736 F.3d 722 (6th Cir. 2013)


D is a real estate agency. WB Title and Chicago Title are title services companies. D, WB, and Chicago are related to one another along two dimensions-their ownership and their business. The people who own D also own a holding company that in turn owns about half of WB. P bought a home in 2005 and used D as their real estate agent. D referred P to WB for the title work in the transaction. Title service companies such as WB are allowed to pay referral fees. RESPA establishes three prerequisites for this safe harbor, and everyone agrees that the defendants in this case (several realty companies and title companies) satisfied them. P sued Ds, claiming that they failed to satisfy a 4th condition promulgated by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) through a policy statement. The court agreed with D and P appealed.