Ex-NFL players no longer part of CFPB, New York suit on high-cost loans
On June 27, the CFPB and New York attorney general filed an amended complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, removing references to a New Jersey-based finance company’s arrangements with seven former NFL players in an action concerning whether the company and its affiliates (collectively, “defendants”) mischaracterized high-cost loans as assignments of future payment rights. As previously covered by InfoBytes, the agencies filed a lawsuit in 2017 claiming, among other things, that the defendants misled World Trade Center attack first responders and professional football players in selling expensive advances on benefits to which they were entitled and mischaracterized extensions of credit as assignments of future payment rights, thereby misleading their victims into repaying far more than they received. Specifically, the initial filing in 2017 alleges that the defendants (i) used “confusing contracts” to prevent the individuals from understanding the terms and costs of the transactions; (ii) lied to the individuals by telling them the companies could secure their payouts more quickly; (iii) misrepresented how quickly they would receive payments from the companies, and (iv) collected interest at an illegal rate. The amended complaint removes all references to defendants’ arrangements with the ex-NFL players, but maintains claims related to financing deals signed with first responders to the World Trade Center attack.
The court issued an order on June 28 accepting the agencies’ unopposed motion to file the amended complaint to “remove references to NFL player consumers and to remove allegations in Count VIII” related to alleged violations of New York General Obligations Law § 13-101 concerning personal injury claims. No additional details on the reasons for the removals are provided.
The amended complaint follows a March order issued by the district court (covered by InfoBytes here) in which it ruled that the CFPB could proceed with its 2017 enforcement action. In 2020, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit vacated the district court’s 2018 order (covered by InfoBytes here), which had dismissed the case on the grounds that the Bureau’s single-director structure was unconstitutional, and that, as such, the agency lacked authority to bring claims alleging deceptive and abusive conduct by the company. The 2nd Circuit remanded the case to the district court, determining that the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Seila Law LLC v. CFPB (holding that the director’s for-cause removal provision was unconstitutional but severable from the statute establishing the Bureau, as covered by a Buckley Special Alert) superseded the 2018 ruling.