2nd Circuit vacates dismissal of CFPB action following Seila
On October 30, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit summarily vacated a 2018 district court order that had dismissed CFPB and New York Attorney General claims against a New Jersey-based finance company accused of misleading first responders to the World Trade Center attack and NFL retirees about high-cost loans mischaracterized as assignments of future payment rights (covered by InfoBytes here). The district court found that the Bureau’s single-director structure was unconstitutional, and that, as such, the agency lacked authority to bring deceptive and abusive claims under the Consumer Financial Protection Act (CFPA). The district court also rejected an attempt by then-acting Director Mulvaney to salvage the Bureau’s claims, concluding that the “ratification of the CFPB’s enforcement action against defendants failed to cure the constitutional deficiencies in the CFPB’s structure or otherwise render defendants’ arguments moot.”
The 2nd Circuit remanded the case to the district court, determining that the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Seila Law LLC v CPFB (covered by a Buckley Special Alert, holding that the director’s for-cause removal provision was unconstitutional but was severable from the statute establishing the Bureau) superseded the 2018 ruling. Following Seila, Director Kathy Kraninger also ratified several prior regulatory actions (covered by InfoBytes here), including the enforcement action brought against the defendants. “In light of these developments, we affirm the district court's holding that the for-cause removal provision is unconstitutional, we reverse the district court's holding that the for-cause removal provision is not severable from the remainder of the CFPA, and we remand for the district court to consider in the first instance the validity of Director Kraninger’s ratification of this enforcement action,” the appellate court wrote.