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Legal Insight: Kerfuffle on statute of limitations issue in PHH case

On June 7, the CFPB submitted a Rule 28(j) letter to the D.C. Circuit in the PHH case. In the letter, the CFPB embraced the fact that the Supreme Court’s recent Kokesh v. SEC decision makes the five-year statute of limitations in 28 USC § 2462 applicable to disgorgement remedies in CFPB administrative proceedings. The CFPB asserted (incorrectly in our view) that Kokesh somehow obviated the applicability of RESPA’s three-year statute of limitations in the PHH case.

PHH forcefully responded to that argument in its reply letter. It started with the point that § 2462’s limitation period applies “except as otherwise provided” by Congress. Because RESPA “otherwise provides” a three-year statute of limitations, § 2462 is inapplicable. Next, it pointed out how unreasonable it is for the CFPB to assume that Congress would set one statute of limitations for judicial actions and another for administrative proceedings. That “would destroy the certainty that Section 2614 was intended to provide,” it argued. PHH also reminded the court of the CFPB Director’s holding in an earlier proceeding that no statute of limitations applies to administrative actions. It chided the CFPB for trying to back away from that position at the “eleventh-hour.”

PHH also pointed out that “at the same time the CFPB argued in this Court that Section 2462 governs disgorgement, the Acting Solicitor General argued in Kokesh that it does not.  The CFPB’s freelancing merely underscores that the Director answers to no one but himself.”

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Ballard Spahr's Privacy and Data Security Group

Written by Ballard Spahr's Privacy and Data Security Group

Ballard Spahr LLP, an Am Law 100 law firm with more than 500 lawyers in 15 offices in the United States, provides a range of services in litigation, business and finance, real estate, intellectual property, and public finance. Our clients include Fortune 500 companies, financial institutions, life sciences and technology companies, health systems, investors and developers, government agencies and sponsored enterprises, educational institutions, and nonprofit organizations. The firm combines a national scope of practice with strong regional market knowledge. For more information, please visit www.ballardspahr.com.

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