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Ashley Simonsen is a litigator whose practice focuses on defending complex class actions in state and federal courts across the country, with substantive experience in the three hotbeds of class action litigation: New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.

Ashley represents clients in the technology, consumer brands, financial services, and sports industries through all stages of litigation, including trial, with a strong track record of success on early dispositive motions. Her practice encompasses advertising, antitrust, product defect, and consumer protection matters. Ashley regularly advises companies on arbitration clauses in consumer agreements and related issues, including mass arbitration risks and issues arising under McGill v. Citibank, N.A. And she is one of the nation’s leading experts on “true lender” issues and the related “valid when made” doctrine.

This past week, co-defendants in a class action related to the theft of cryptocurrency engaged in their own lawsuit over alleged security failures.  IRA Financial Trust, a retirement account provider offering crypto-assets, sued class action co-defendant Gemini Trust Company, LLC, a crypto-asset exchange owned by the Winklevoss twins, following a breach of IRA customer accounts.  IRA claims that Gemini failed to secure a “master key” to IRA’s accounts, and that hackers were able to exploit this alleged security flaw to steal tens of millions of dollars of cryptocurrency.  This lawsuit demonstrates the growing trend of cryptocurrency thefts resulting from cyber breaches, and ensuing litigation activity.

Continue Reading Litigation Between FinTech Companies Follows Class Action Over Cryptocurrency Theft

A bank partnership is the target of yet another “true lender” attack in a new class action filed last week.  Michael v. Opportunity Fin., LLC, No. 1:22-cv-00529 (W.D. Tex. June 1, 2022).  The lawsuit is aimed at the lending partnership between OppFi (a fintech) and FinWise Bank (its bank partner), which was also the target of a recent investigation by California’s banking regulator and another class action earlier this year.  This latest development cements a growing trend of true lender attacks after Congress repealed a regulation on the topic last year, dashing hopes of a uniform and predictable standard to identify the “true lender” in bank partnerships.

Continue Reading Bank Partnership Attacked (Again) Under True Lender Theory

A recent class action refiled in federal court against Shopify highlights a growing trend of lawsuits against companies related to the theft of cryptocurrency, particularly as a result of internal company threats. See Forsberg et al v. Shopify, Inc. et al, 1:22-cv-00436 (D. Del.). Despite not itself being a repository for or facilitating the

In the wake of rulings upholding federal regulators’ “valid when made” rules, a new lawsuit serves as a reminder that state regulators and class-action plaintiffs’ lawyers may continue to challenge the bank partnership lending model under the “true lender” doctrine.

Continue Reading Fintech Lawsuit Highlights True Lender Risk for Bank Partnership Lending Model

Delivering a significant win for the financial services industry, a California federal judge upheld “valid when made” rules promulgated by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) in California v. OCC, No. 4:20-cv-05200 (N.D. Cal. Feb. 8, 2022) and California v. FDIC, No. 4:20-cv-05860 (N.D. Cal. Feb. 8, 2022).  Those rules sought to undo the Second Circuit’s 2015 decision in Madden v. Midland Funding—a decision that class-action plaintiffs’ lawyers and state regulators have invoked to bring lawsuits challenging so-called “rent-a-bank” schemes between banks and third parties.  The rules were finalized in June and July 2020, and established a bright-line rule that the interest rate charged on a bank-made loan may still be charged after the loan is sold to a third party.

Continue Reading A Closer Look: Federal Court Upholds OCC’s & FDIC’s Valid-When-Made Rules