Debra  - Lee - Hovatter

Debra Lee Hovatter

  • Member
  • Co-Chair, Consumer Finance Group
Morgantown, W.Va.
304.291.7951 - office
304.216.5835 - mobile


  • Cornell University, B.S.
  • University of Wisconsin, M.S.
  • South Texas College of Law, J.D., summa cum laude


  • West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Texas State Bars
  • U.S. District Courts for the Northern and Southern Districts of West Virginia, and the District of Maryland
Ms. Hovatter’s primary areas of practice are commercial consumer finance litigation, general business litigation, bankruptcy, and loan workouts and commercial foreclosures. She is co-chair of the firm’s Consumer Finance Litigation Practice Group.

Representative Experience

  • Defend and counsel financial institutions, including banks, mortgage companies and servicers, in single borrower, mass tort and putative class action matters involving state and federal consumer protection laws, including the Fair Credit Reporting Act, Truth in Lending Act, Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, and unfair and deceptive trade practices statutes
  • Represent banks in commercial work-outs, real estate disputes, real estate sales, and commercial bankruptcies
  • Represent creditors and trustees in business and consumer bankruptcy proceedings and adversary proceedings
  • As in-house counsel for CitiFinancial, Inc., SunTrust Mortgage, Inc., and Capital One Services, LLC:
    • managed large litigation dockets, including individual, complex and putative class action matters
    • advised consumer lending business lines, including operations, default servicing, capital markets, credit, audit and compliance, and information systems
    • developed loss mitigation strategies with mortgage servicing teams navigated complex legal issues for mortgage insurance rescission and repurchase teams
    • counseled a non-prime mortgage servicing company, covering default servicing, securitization, regulatory compliance, litigation management, and successfully negotiated sale of the business


  • AV Preeminent Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell
  • Recognized by The Best Lawyers in America as "Lawyer of the Year" 2017 (Morgantown, W.Va.) in Financial Services Regulation Law
  • Nominated by her peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America for Financial Services Regulation Law
  • Frequent speaker at mortgage and consumer finance conferences

Community Affiliations

  • Vice President, Jefferson County Development Authority Board, Jefferson County, WV, 2013 - present (Member since 2011)


  • 2015 Legislative Changes to the West Virginia Consumer Credit and Protection Act, (Summer 2015)
  • Sostaric v. Marshall: Putting the Foreclosure Sale Price in Question, West Virginia Banker, (Spring 2015)
  • Curing the QM: The CFPB's Recent Amendments to the ATR/QM Rule, West Virginia Banker, (Winter 2014)
  • The Small Servicer Exemption to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's Mortgage Servicing Rules, West Virginia Banker, (Summer 2014)
  • Preemption Analysis Under the National Bank Act: Then and Now, 66 Consumer Fin. L. Q. Rep. 1-2 (2012)
  • Bankruptcy Fundamentals for the Financial Services Industry, A Handbook for Non-Lawyers, American Bankruptcy Institute, 2007
  • Sommersdorf’s Progeny: Can Wrong Credit Report Trigger a Debtor Claim under the Code?, XXVI ABI Journal 5, 14, June 2007
  • Qualified Plan Loans in Bankruptcy, XVIII ABI Journal 1, 16, February 1999
  • Bankruptcy Court Ruling Good News for Agents, 31 Business Insurance 1, 161-16K, January 6, 1997
  • Beyond the Tortured Meanderings: Understanding Federal and State Tax Liens, VII Corporate Counsel Review 2, 79, November, 1988
©2017 Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC
Michael J. Basile / Responsible Attorney