The first Metro-East class action lawsuit in two-and-a-half months was filed in St. Clair County Circuit Court May 27 against First American Title Insurance Company alleging the company misrepresented closing charges.

Peter Fiore claims he used First American to purchase title insurance for refinancing his home in 2003 in Stookey Township and was billed $1,639.09 for the service.

Fiore is asking that his case be maintained as a class action for residents of 31 states. Class members seek less than $75,000.

In order for the suit to meet state court filing criteria--as prescribed by the Class Action Fairness Act signed into law by President Bush in February--class members outside of Illinois are not seeking more than $5 million.

According to Fiore's complaint, First American violated the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Practices act by misrepresenting the actual cost of certain closing charges including credit reports, tax service contracts to the lender, flood certification fees, settlement or closing fees, recording fees, wire transfer fees and delivery fees.

Fiore also claims First American concealed or suppressed the fact that its title insurance closing costs were not in compliance with Illinois law. He says the title company failed to disclose and charge the actual costs and retained money in excess of the actual costs.

“First American has failed to disclose information at Plaintiff’s request concerning this matter, thereby making damages appropriate with respect to the class as a whole,” the complaint states. “The conduct was deceptive, fraudulent, unfair and misleading,”

Residents of Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island South Carolina, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia make up the class.

The class will be represented by Jeffrey Hammel of Belleville.

05 L 318 (20th Circuit)

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