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Ethan Ostroff’s practice focuses on financial services litigation and consumer law compliance counseling. Ethan is part of the firm’s national practice representing consumer-facing companies of all types in defense of individual and class action claims and counseling them on compliance with federal and state laws.

Last week, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB or Bureau) filed a complaint against SoLo Funds, Inc., a fintech company operating a small-dollar, short-term lending platform. The CFPB alleges that SoLo Funds engaged in deceptive practices related to the total cost of loans, servicing, and collection of void and uncollectible loans in violation of the Consumer Financial Protection Act (CFPA) and engaged in providing consumer reports governed by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) but failed to ensure the maximum possible accuracy of those consumer reports.

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision in Smith v. Spizzirri holding that § 3 of the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) requires district courts to issue an order staying a federal case pending the outcome of arbitration, rather than dismiss the case when a motion to compel arbitration is granted. This decision resolves a circuit split where previously the Second, Third, Sixth, Seventh, Tenth, and Eleventh Circuits had held that the plain text of § 3 mandates a stay of the proceedings whereas the First, Fifth, Eighth, and Ninth Circuits had held that district courts have the discretion to dismiss the proceedings if the entire dispute was subject to arbitration.

In Holden v. Holiday Inn Club Vacations Inc., the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit recently upheld a consolidated district court ruling granting summary judgment for the defendant furnisher in two Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) actions centering on whether the consumers’ disputes with the furnisher were actionable. While the Eleventh Circuit declined to impose a bright-line rule that only FCRA claims based on factual disputes are actionable, it affirmed the district courts’ summary judgment ruling, finding that for consumer disputes to be actionable against furnishers, the alleged inaccuracy must be “objectively and readily verifiable.”

In Soliman v. Subway Franchisee Advertising Fund Trust, Ltd, the plaintiff alleged that the defendant violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) by sending a text message to her cell phone using an automatic telephone dialing system (ATDS) and which utilized an “artificial or prerecorded voice.” The Second Circuit affirmed the district court’s decision to dismiss the case because the TCPA did not apply.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has recently underscored the fact that a plaintiff does not automatically gain Article III standing under the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA) simply because they are confused by a letter.

In the third episode of this four-part series, Ethan, Addison, and Trey discuss several state-level developments that occurred in the digital asset sector during 2023. The group discusses the inception of New York Department of Financial Services’ (NYDFS) BitLicense regulation, its evolution, and the NYDFS’ introduction of guidance describing the procedures a digital asset custodian must engage in to ensure the provision of safekeeping services in a consumer-friendly manner. The main principles of the guidance aim to protect consumers by requiring digital asset custodians to, among other things, segregate digital assets owned by consumers and to prevent the establishment of debtor-creditor relationships with consumers that utilize custodial services.