Photo of Stefanie Jackman

Stefanie takes a holistic approach to working with clients both through compliance counseling and assessment relating to consumer products and services, as well as serving as a zealous advocate in government inquiries, investigations, and consumer litigation.

Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its long-awaited decision in Community Financial Services Association of America, Limited (CFSA) v. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB or Bureau) holding that the CFPB’s special funding structure does not violate the appropriations clause of the Constitution. The 7-2 majority held the Dodd-Frank Act, which provides the CFPB’s funding structure, satisfies the appropriations clause because it “authorizes the Bureau to draw public funds from a particular source — ‘the combined earnings of the Federal Reserve System’ — in an amount not exceeding an inflation-adjusted cap. And it specifies the objects for which the Bureau can use those funds — to ‘pay the expenses of the Bureau in carrying out its duties and responsibilities.’” The Supreme Court further found that the “Bureau’s funding mechanism [] fits comfortably within the historical appropriations practice …” Justices Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch dissented from the decision.

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 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.

On May 10, a Texas federal court granted a preliminary injunction enjoining the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB or Bureau) from implementing the credit card late fee rule, most recently discussed here. The court found the plaintiffs demonstrated a likelihood of success based on their reliance on the Fifth Circuit’s decision in CFPB v. Community Financial Services Association of America, Ltd. finding that the CFPB’s “double-insulated funding scheme is unconstitutional.” The court further found that the balance of interest test weighed in the plaintiffs’ favor because if the court denied the injunction, “[p]laintiffs face an enormous undertaking based upon a potentially unconstitutional rule,” whereas if the court granted the injunction “the CFPB is relatively unaffected because the Final Rule has not yet gone into effect.”

Today, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB or Bureau) published an Issue Spotlight focusing on consumer complaints relating to credit card rewards programs. The report notes that credit card companies often focus marketing efforts on rewards, like cash back and travel, instead of on interest rates and fees. However, the CFPB has previously reported that consumers who carry debt from month to month earn just 27% of rewards at major credit card companies, while paying 94% of the interest and fees that those companies charged. In its analysis of several hundred complaints relating to these rewards programs, the Bureau identified four recurring themes: 1) vague or hidden promotional conditions; 2) devalued rewards; 3) customer service issues that delay or block reward redemption; and 4) issuers unilaterally revoking reward balances.

On May 3, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit entered an order denying the CFPB’s (CFPB) petition for a panel rehearing and effectively setting the stage for a long-awaited ruling on a preliminary injunction in the ongoing lawsuit challenging the CFPB credit card late fee rule. The petition was filed by the CFPB to reconsider the panel’s order vacating the district court’s order that transferred the case to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia and issuing a writ of mandamus directing the district court to reopen the case.

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.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) recently released an Issue Spotlight highlighting the costs and fees associated with Health Savings Accounts (HSAs). While acknowledging that HSAs offer tax advantages that can help offset the costs of high deductible health plans (HDHPs), the CFPB’s report noted that these benefits can be significantly offset by various costs.

On April 30, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued an order vacating the district court’s effective denial of the motion for a preliminary injunction filed by several trade groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce, Longview Chamber of Commerce, American Bankers Association, Consumer Bankers Association, and Texas Association of Business (collectively, the trade groups). The trade groups are challenging the credit card late fee rule issued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) as unconstitutional and violative of the Administrative Procedures Act and seek a preliminary injunction while the case is pending.

Earlier this week, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB or Bureau) released its second report detailing changes in the credit reporting of medical debts made by the three national consumer reporting agencies (CRAs) to reduce the number of medical bills on credit reports. Overall, the CFPB found the changes in the reporting of medical collections have led to a significant reduction in the number of consumers with tradelines relating to medical debts on their consumer reports. However, the total balances of medical collections on consumer reports only fell by 38% nationwide.