Diane Festino Schmitt
Diane Festino Schmitt
Diane Festino Schmitt, a principal in Ober|Kaler's Litigation Group and Creditors' Rights Group, focuses on commercial, business and corporate litigation. Diane has over 25 years of experience representing international, national and local commercial credit lenders in federal and state courts.
Diane provides her banking clients a full range of litigation, negotiation and dispute resolution services. She handles commercial collection actions and confessed judgments on defaulted notes, guarantees, loan agreements, leases and contracts. As the head of Ober|Kaler's foreclosure task force, she also conducts foreclosure actions on real estate as varied as apartment complexes to waterfront estates.
Additionally, she defends lender liability counterclaims sounding in tort, contract and statute, including counterclaims consolidated before the judicial panel on multi-district litigation, and those based on inter-creditor agreements. Diane defends lenders in class action claims arising from consumer automobile repossessions, and assists lenders in responding to subpoenas for financial records.
In addition to her extensive creditor's rights work, Diane has an active general commercial litigation practice that includes contract disputes, insurance coverage disputes and tort disputes for a diverse group of clients including health care institutions, telecommunications companies, and other businesses. Diane has also briefed and argued numerous cases before Maryland's Courts of Appeal.
As co-chair of the firm's Mentoring Program since 2004, Diane helps give back to the community by pairing Ober|Kaler attorneys, paralegals and staff with inner city Baltimore high school and elementary school students.
- Successfully petitioned the Maryland Court of Appeals for certiorari and obtained a ruling in a case of first impression that MEDCO's tax exemption statute relieves that entity from paying excise taxes it is required to pay on its properties and activities, including recordation taxes that MEDCO agrees by contract to pay. The Decision also held that recording a deed of trust to secure financing is a "requirement" sufficient to trigger the statutory exemption, and that MEDCO's express tax exemption statute controls over the general Tax-Property Article recordation tax provisions as to whether recordation taxes are exempt or must be paid. See Maryland Economic Development Corporation v. Montgomery County, Maryland (2013)
- Achieved a favorable settlement for a major national bank in defense of a class action suit in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland. The settlement covered a class of about 3,000 consumers who alleged that the bank did not follow Maryland Commercial Law requirements when repossessing and selling vehicles the bank had financed. The settlement was reached during the early motion phase of the litigation, saving the lender significant legal fees
- Successfully defended a series of $10,000,000 confessed judgments on behalf of a major national bank in Maryland State Court City against claims that guarantors had meritorious defenses based on the Federal and Maryland Equal Credit Opportunities Act (ECOA), based on allegations of “negligent lending” and based on allegations that the Bank “wrongfully” failed to follow the loan documents and amendments thereto
- Represented a major national bank in litigation pending initially in six jurisdictions, and then consolidated via the Judicial Panel on Multi-District Litigation, arising out of loans in excess of $25 million to health care facilities located throughout the country
Publications & Presentations
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