Danielle J. Szukala
Ms. Szukala concentrates her practice on class action defense of banks, mortgage lenders, and related entities in matters pending throughout the United States. Ms. Szukala has defended numerous class actions involving a variety of state and federal claims, including claims under the Truth in Lending Act, the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, as well as claims for violations of state consumer protection statutes. These class actions include challenges to foreclosure practices, recording fees, servicing and origination fees, bankruptcy fees and practices, alleged predatory lending practices, and other claims, such as those attacking use of the MERS® system.
Ms. Szukala also represents financial institutions in significant non-class matters, and individuals requiring pro bono representation.
Her experience includes obtaining judgment in her client's favor in the bench trial of a case involving claims brought pursuant to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, and acting as lead counsel in a case involving claims of loan origination fraud, which was prepared for a forty-witness jury trial. Ms. Szukala also acted as lead counsel at a six-witness evidentiary hearing on class certification in a mortgage loan servicing case.
In addition, Ms. Szukala has significant appellate court experience, and has presented oral argument before the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, the Court of Appeals of the State of California and the Court of Appeals of Ohio.
Ms. Szukala received her undergraduate degree, with honors, from the University of Iowa, graduating in 1996 with a double major in Journalism and History and a minor in Dance. Ms. Szukala was awarded her J.D. degree, with high distinction, from the University of Iowa College of Law in 1999. Prior to joining BWM&S in 2003, Ms. Szukala practiced in the litigation group at Jenner & Block LLP.
Below are examples of decisions in cases Ms. Szukala has handled on behalf of financial institution defendants:
Haynes v. EMC Mortg. Corp., 205 Cal. Appl. 4th 329 (Cal. App. 1st Dist. 2012) (affirming dismissal of class action complaint and holding assignment did not need to be recorded prior to nonjudicial foreclosure on deed of trust because California statute regarding recording did not apply to deeds of trust).
Rodriguez v. Chase Home Finance LLC, 2011 WL 5076346 (N.D.Ill. Oct. 25, 2011) (dismissing class action complaint alleging violations of the Homeowners Protection Act).
Barger v. EMC Mortgage Corporation, et al., 2011 WL 4712209 (N.D.Cal. Oct. 7, 2011) (denying class certification in case alleging RESPA violations).
In re: Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems Litigation, 2011 WL 4550189 (D. Ariz. Oct. 3, 2011) (dismissing consolidated amended complaint in multidistrict litigation alleging fraud and conspiracy based on the use and creation of the MERS® system).
Cervantes v. Countrywide Home Loans, Inc., 656 F.3d 1034 (9th Cir. 2011) (affirming dismissal of putative class action complaint alleging fraud and conspiracy based on the use and creation of the MERS® system).
Siwulec v. Chase Home Finance, LLC, 2010 WL 5071353 (D.N.J. Dec. 7, 2010) (dismissing class action complaint alleging FDCPA violations).
Gunter v. Chase Bank USA, N.A., 731 F.Supp.2d 1238 (S.D.Ala. Aug. 9, 2010) (granting summary judgment against plaintiffs
on class claims alleging RESPA violations).
Price v. Washington Mutual Bank, 2010 WL 1416706 (Bkrtcy. N.D.Ala. April 8, 2010) (dismissing class action complaint alleging defendants assessed unapproved post-petition fees and charges to debtors’ accounts).
Rodriguez v. Bear Stearns Companies, Inc., 2009 WL 5184702 (D.Conn. Dec. 22, 2009) (granting summary judgment against plaintiffs in a nationwide racial discrimination claim for “predatory servicing” under the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3601, et seq.).
Pittman v. Chase Home Finance, LLC, Case No. CV-05-571902 Common Pleas Court, County of Cuyahoga, Ohio (May 27, 2009) (denying class certification in case alleging violations of state lien release statute).
Herrera v. JPMorgan Chase Bank, NA, consolidated with Ruhl v. HSBC Mortgage Services, Case No. 08-cv-371-LA (E.D. Wisc. Dec. 23, 2008) (affirming dismissal of class action adversary proceeding brought on behalf of Chapter 13 bankruptcy debtors).
Trevino v. Merscorp, Inc., et al., 583 F.Supp.2d 521 (D. Del. Sept. 30, 2008) (granting motion to dismiss class action against shareholders of MERS®).
Moseley-Smith v. Chase Manhattan Mortgage Corporation, 222 Fed.Appx. 533, 2007 WL 866182 (8th Cir. 2007) (affirming summary judgment against plaintiffs on claims alleging impropriety of facsimile fees).
Illinois and U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois, 1999; U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin; U.S. Court of Appeals: First, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, and Eleventh Circuits; United States Supreme Court. Special admission to practice in courts in Nevada, Arizona, Missouri, Oklahoma, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, New Jersey, Arkansas, California, Indiana, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Ohio, and West Virginia.
- University of Iowa (B.A., with honors, 1996)
- University of Iowa College of Law (J.D., with high distinction, 1999)
Professional and Civic Involvement
Articles and Presentations
- Co-authored Recent Trends in Federal Preemption of State Law Claims Under the Federal Home Owners' Loan Act of 1933, THE BANKING LAW JOURNAL (July/August 2002)
- Co-authored Federal savings associations should raise preemption defense against state law claims at early stage of litigation, Consumer Financial Services Law Report (June 5, 2002)
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