Francis X. Riley III

Francis X. Riley III
Primary Office

Complex Commercial Litigation

Trip has nearly 25 years of experience representing companies, on both the defense and plaintiffs side, in complex, high exposure commercial litigation. He has represented clients as diverse as financial services companies, real estate brokerage companies, national retailers and a variety of franchisors in actions involving claims of fraud, unfair competition, antitrust, tortious interference, conspiracy, RICO violations, theft of trade secrets, IP infringement, and breach of contract. He has also defended his clients against shareholder and partner derivative actions. He has also represented clients against consumer class actions brought under various federal and state consumer protection laws. Because of the nature of his practice, Trip has also represented clients in numerous emergent applications for temporary and preliminary injunctions of, among others, pending commercial and corporate transactions, copyright and trademark infringement, and the implementation and enforcement of statutes and regulations, and the subsequent litigation and trial focused on permanent injunction. Trip also represents his clients in state and federal appellate matters following judicial and administrative agency adjudications.

  • Represented long-standing clients Michael Saporito and Jessie Armstead, owners and operators of several automobile dealerships, in prevailing against four existing auto dealers who filed administrative protest actions by which they sought to prevent the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) from granting the clients’ application for a new Honda dealership in Grapevine, Texas.
  • Defended limited partnership, its general partner, and affiliated business and officer in $100 million dollar partner-derivative action and an associated direct breach of partnership agreement action. Obtained complete dismissal of breach of partnership action and the partial dismissal with prejudice of partner-derivative action under New York and Delaware partnership law.
  • Defended national commercial real estate brokerage company in multiple jurisdiction litigation arising from defendants’ alleged tortious inference and theft of trade secrets.
  • Represented international supplier of juices and concentrates in arbitration against international beverage company arising from the latter’s fraudulent inducement and breach of contract.
  • Defended national early childhood education system franchisor in litigation brought by franchisee asserting breach of franchise agreement and fraud in the inducement. Obtained dismissal of action following positive resolution of the claims.
  • Defended majority shareholders of a regional transportation company in litigation of a minority shareholder’s suppression action, and resulting favorable buyout of minority shareholder’s interest and termination of his employment.
  • Defended international clothing brand in a Section 1983 action brought against it and state officials arising by defendant whose establishment was raided by police for selling counterfeit merchandise. Obtained defendant’s voluntary dismissal after discovery.

Consumer Class Action Defense

Trip is also a member of a team of Saul Ewing attorneys that represents consumer facing services and products companies in their effort to comply with federal and state consumer protection laws, regulations and guidance. Trip also defends these clients in single plaintiff and class actions against claims of consumer protections law violations. In addition to settlement services companies, these clients include clothing and other product retailers, restaurant and other hospitality companies, student loan servicers, consumer finance companies, and higher education institutions. These claims have included asserted violations of the FCRA, TCPA, FDCPA and RESPA, along with state unfair, deceptive and abusive practices statutes and regulations.

  • Defending a large Florida residential and commercial real estate brokerage against a putative class action in which violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) are asserted. Prominent issues include whether new texting technology falls within the definition of an automatic telephone dialing system or "ATDS”
  • Obtained pre-answer dismissal of a putative class action complaint against a popular national restaurant chain, in which violations of New York's unfair trade practice act and unjust enrichment were asserted based on alleged concealment by the restaurant of its use of certain ingredients in the preparation of certain menu items. The court agreed plaintiff lacked Article III standing and the complaint should be dismissed without given leave to amend.
  • Obtained pre-answer resolution of several putative class action complaints against a student loan servicer.
  • Representation of student loan servicer in putative class action, in which a settlement was reached after the court granted client's motion to bifurcation liability and damages.
  • Part of the defense team that represented a regional healthcare system against a putative class action brought by current and past patients alleging the improper use and permitted access to their medical records for financial gain, in which a preliminary injunction was sought. After a successful defense of the preliminary injunction plaintiff voluntarily dismissed the complaint in its entirety.
  • Defended a national mortgage loan servicer in a putative class action in Florida State Court against an allegation that the servicer improperly included certain fees and charges into the final payment on which the servicer conditioned its agreement to reinstate previous judicially foreclosed mortgages.

Real Estate Settlement Services Industry

Trip is the co-leader of a team of attorneys that represent and counsel real estate settlement services industry clients, including mortgage lenders and brokers and loan servicers; real estate brokers; title insurance underwriters and agents in civil litigation/class actions, government investigations and enforcement actions, and regulatory/compliance counseling and business matters. As part of his practice, Trip counsels on and litigates issues related to CFPA's UDAAP Provisions; RESPA; TILA; Reg. X; Reg. Z; ECOA; FCRA; TCPA, FDCPA; FACTA; Consumer Data Protection, Use, and Cyber Security; HOEPA; Fair Foreclosure Acts; insurance rate issues and other statutory and common law consumer complaints. Trip also represents settlement service providers in governmental investigations and enforcement actions. He has litigated numerous other commercial disputes in which his settlement services industry clients have been a party. Trip also provides administrative and regulatory counseling on existing operational issues and proposed product and service programs and affiliated business arrangements to settlement services industry clients.

  • Representation of national title agency and regional title underwriter in government investigation.
  • Representation of the servicer of and investor in commercial mortgage loans in uncontested and contested foreclosures.
  • Represented the National Association of Mortgage Brokers (NAMB) in its challenge to the Federal Reserve Board's Final Loan Origination Compensation Rule.
  • Represented a title industry client in a U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey putative class action in which RESPA, TILA, RICO and state consumer fraud claims were asserted. Obtained dismissal of the action on an initial 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss (some claims with prejudice).
  • Obtained the dismissal, on behalf of a mortgage lending client, of TILA, RESPA, and state consumer fraud claims brought in the Superior Court of New Jersey.
  • Obtained summary judgments in favor of a mortgage lender client against TILA, RESPA, Fair Foreclosure Act, and consumer fraud counterclaims by the defaulted borrower.

Title Policy Claims and Coverage Disputes

Trip also leads a group of attorneys in all of Saul Ewing’s offices who represent title insurance underwriters, their insureds and title insurance agencies in commercial and residential title related disputes. He also provides counseling to and defends title insurance underwriters in policy and closing protection and closing services letter coverage disputes. Trip has litigated and taken such matters to trial in many state and federal courts.

  • Representation of a national underwriter in trial and appellate level proceedings related to applicability of the policy's express exclusions.
  • Representation of a national underwriter in trial level proceedings based on claims of fraud, duties of the insurer outside the express scope of the policy, conspiracy, and breach of fiduciary duty.
  • Representation of multiple national underwriters in claims related to an asserted restrictive covenant allegedly encumbering 1,650 real property lots pursuant to a community scheme and rights of a homeowner's association.
  • Representation of insureds under a title policy regarding obligations and rights related to riparian rights and grants associated with waterways in New Jersey.
  • Representation of insureds under title policies with respect to alleged superior lien claims arising from fraudulent transactions.

Financial Services Experience

Trip represents financial services clients in a wide variety of actions (including class actions that arise from complex commercial transactions and relationships) in state and federal courts throughout the United States and before arbitrators. He has also been involved in a variety of statutory and common law fraud, civil RICO, and civil conspiracy actions venued in New York, Maryland and Florida federal courts.   

  • Obtained partial dismissal of partner-derivative claims under New York and Delaware partnership law.
  • Obtained partial vacatur of a FINRA award in favor of international financial services company.
  • Obtained multimillion-dollar summary judgment in favor of international financial services company on a breach of services contract.
  • Obtained a multimillion-dollar FINRA award in favor of an international financial services company, confirmed by the New York Supreme Court.
  • Obtained a favorable New York Appellate Division (1st Department) decision for an international financial services company concerning appellant's appeal of the trial court's denial of its motion to amend to include a patent invalidity claim and for additional discovery.
  • Representation of an international financial services company in New York state court action concerning allegation of defendant's unfair competition through its knowing use of misappropriated financial market data.
  • Representation of a financial services company in a FINRA arbitration concerning allegations of respondent's unfair competition through its knowing use of misappropriated financial market data.
  • Representation of tour bus company and non-controlling shareholders in a closely-held shareholder's dispute.
  • Representation of national pharmaceutical business broker in state court action in which it alleges breach of contract, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing and fraud against national pharmaceutical component company in the sale of one of its sterile injectable products units.