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Nance F. Becker, Partner

 

Nance Becker specializes in consumer class actions. Ms. Becker attended Stanford Law School, earning her Juris Doctorate, Order of the Coif, in 1981. While at Stanford, Ms. Becker completed an externship with the Environmental Defense Fund, and received the Hilmer Oehlmann Jr. Award for Excellence in Research and Legal Writing. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Harpur College of the State University of New York at Binghamton in 1978 and received her B.A. in economics and environmental studies.

Admitted to the California Bar in 1981, Ms. Becker has also been admitted to all United States District Courts in the State of California, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and the United States Court of Claims. She has argued before the Ninth Circuit, the California Supreme Court, California Courts of Appeal, and the Courts of Appeal in the States of Washington and Utah, and has authored dozens of appellate briefs and writ petitions.

Prior to joining Chavez & Gertler, Ms. Becker was a commercial litigator representing large and small businesses and corporations in a wide variety of disputes including unfair competition, contract and insurance, fraud in connection with accounting and investments, environmental liability, and toxic torts. Since joining Chavez & Gertler in 2007, she has focused on consumer rights, including lawsuits to enforce the consumer protections provided by the Rees-Levering Automobile Sale and Finance Act; challenging discriminatory lending practices by major financial institutions; and calling credit reporting agencies and debt collectors to account for violating consumer protection laws, among others. She has also frequently partnered with Disability Rights Advocates in litigation to provide equal access to public facilities and business services.

In 2015, she was a finalist for the San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association’s Trial Lawyer of the Year award for her work on the class action Villanueva v. Fidelity National Title Company, protecting California consumers from being charged unlawful escrow fees.

Ms. Becker is a member of Public Justice, Consumer Attorneys of California, and the San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association. She was a co-founder and former board member of Bay Legal Assistance for Women, a member of the AIDS Legal Referral Panel, and a board member and officer of the Marin Audubon Society.  Ms. Becker is currently principal flutist and Secretary of the Board of Directors of Mill Valley Philharmonic.

Current Cases

Lofton v. Initiative Legal Group, CAse No. CGC-11-509502 (San Francisco Superior Court): ongoing litigation on behalf of intervenor representing 600 class members whose prior attorneys retained $6 million of class action settlement funds without the knowledge or approval of the trial court that approved the settlement.  The Court of Appeal has affirmed the issuance of an injunction requiring defendant to safeguard the funds and prohibiting further misleading communications, and the litigation of the merits is underway.

Noble v. Greenberg Traurig, LLP et al, Case No. RG11593201 (Alameda Superior Court):  part of litigation team suing to obtain relief for over 1,200 investors who lost over $700 million as the result of real estate fraud and a Ponzi-scheme allegedly aided and abetted by defendants Greenberg Traurig LLP and Wells Fargo Bank.

 

Past Work

Smith v. Hotels.com, Case No. RG07327029 (Alameda Superior Court):  with Disability Rights Advocates, successfully sued to compel one of the largest online travel services to make changes to its reservation system so that individuals with disabilities could research and reserve lodgings that provide the accommodations they need.

Celano v. Marriott, Case No. C-05-4004-PJH (N.D. Cal.):  with Disability Rights Advocates, successfully sued to compel Marriott International, Inc., owner and operator of dozens of prestige public golf courses throughout the United States, to provide accessible motorized golf carts for the use of players with mobility disabilities.

Roe v. Intellicorp Records, Inc., Case No. 1:12-cv-02288 (N.D. Ohio):  Roe was a consolidated action against a major Credit Reporting Agency for providing inaccurate “instant” criminal background checks to employers and prospective employers.  On behalf of a class of about 547,000 individuals, this case settled for $18.6 million, along with an agreement by the defendant to materially change its business practices and to provide additional benefits and services.  This result is one of the largest reported settlements in cases involving the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

Chen v Home Depot, Case No. RG13694413 (Alameda Superior Court):  this highly-publicized unfair business practice claim against Home Depot, seeking to remedy its practice of sending coercive and misleading letters demanding “civil shoplifting damages” from customers, and also requiring accused customers to provide private information without good cause, settled for monetary and injunctive relief.

Franklin v. The Villas Parkmerced, Case No. CGS-06-456720 (San Francisco Superior Court):  this class action provided monetary and equitable relief to tenants of The Villas Parkmerced for rent overcharges that violated San Francisco’s Rent Stabilization and Arbitration Ordinance and forced some tenants to vacate their apartments as a result of their inability to pay.

Labrador v. Seattle Mortgage Co., Case No. 08-2270 (N.D. Cal.):  successful settlement of class action raising issues of first impression as to the legality of certain loan origination fees charged in connection with Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (reverse mortgage) loans.

Villanueva v. Fidelity National Title Company, Case No. 1-10-CV-173356 (San Francisco Superior Court):  with Jon Gertler and co-counsel, co-chaired a rare class action trial against California’s largest title insurance company on a claim that it unlawfully charged escrow customers millions of dollars in delivery fees.  The case resolved an issue of first impression as to the interpretation and application of the rate filing requirements of the California Insurance Code and resulted in a permanent injunction.  The trial court’s order denying restitution to the class is on appeal.