b'the City tax revenue. This matter has wound its wayciates, Inc., et al., (No. 16-16511) (11th Cir., April 5, 2019), through the Courts and was the subject of a Supremethat a plaintiff asserted a viable claim that the FDCPA Court opinion in 2017, in which the Court had held thatprohibits debt collectors from using false, deceptive, or Miami had standing to sue various banks under themisleading representation[s], when the defendant debt federal Fair Housing Act, claiming that predatory andcollector attempted to collect a time-barred debt. It did discriminatory lending practices decreased tax revenuenot matter to the Court that the debt collector did notWhat Were Watching: 2020 Emerging Issuesand increased blight, leading to increased costs. Theexpressly threaten to sue on the debt. The Court noted, Supreme Court remanded the case back to the Elev- however, that attempting to collect on a time-barred enth Circuit on the question of whether the tax issuedebt was not per se unconscionable or an automaticEnforcement Trendsultimately passed muster. The Supreme Court alsoviolation of the FDCPA. The matter was remanded to advised the Eleventh Circuit that Miamis injury had tothe trial court for further proceedings. Following the 2016 election, in 2017 and 2018 Goodwinalso saw an increase in federal and state cooperation, have some direct relation to the alleged practices. InFourth Circuit Finds Tribe has Sovereign Immunitypredicted a downward trend in federal enforcementwith at least 13 joint actions announced after just 5 its decision, the Eleventh Circuit found that the allegedin Usury Case. In Williams v. Big Picture Loans, LLC,activities that would be balanced, somewhat, by ansuch actions were tracked in 2018. By contrast, in 2016, lending practices were directly linked to the reduction(No. 18:1827) (4th Cir., July 3, 2019), the Fourth Circuitupward trend in state enforcement activities. In 2019,over 70% of consumer finance enforcement stemmed in tax revenue. However, the Court also held that the al- found in favor of a Native American tribe that allegedlywe finally saw that come to fruition, in that states arefrom federal agencies, and just 6% of that included legations did not support the claim that the increase inloaned money at interest rates fifty times higher thannow bringing nearly as many enforcement actions oncooperation from states.foreclosed property maintenance costs were the resultthe maximum rate allowed in the State of Virginia. Aftertheir own (30) as their federal counterparts (35). 2019 of the same practices. The takeaway from the Courtsfive borrowers sued, the lender claimed that it was not decision is that financial institutions may face an uphillsubject to state usury laws due to its affiliation with the battle moving to dismiss Fair Housing Act claims for aLac Vieux Desert Band of the Lake Superior Chippe-decrease in municipal revenues as the purported resultwa Indians. The Court held in a unanimous ruling thatProportion of State-Federal Actionsof improper lending practices. the online lending business was an arm of the tribe Seventh Circuit Holds that E-mails with Embeddedand entitled to sovereign immunity. Chief Judge Roger100 4.7% 6.4%Links Can Violate FDCPA. In Lavallee v. Med-1 Solu- Gregory wrote, A finding of no immunity in this case,6.0% 8.5% 17%tions, LLC, 932 F.3d 1049 (7th Cir. Aug. 8, 2019), theeven if animated by the intent to protect the tribe or % of Total Action Number AdjustedSeventh Circuit held that e-mails with debt informa- consumers, would weaken the tribes ability to govern80 28.7% 31.8% 37.1% 33.3% 38%tion and validation notices in embedded links did notitself according to its own laws, become self-sufficient,Jointcomply with the FDCPA. The Court held that the e-mailsand develop economic opportunities for its members. 60were not communications, as defined by the FDCPA,Stateand the e-mails themselves did not contain the re- LOOKING AHEAD TO 2020 40 Federalquired debt validation notices. The Court compared the65.3% 59.7% 58.2% 60.3% 45%e-mails with embedded hyperlinks to debt letters thatIn 2020, we expect the Supreme Court to rule on the did not contain required notices, but instead had infor- constitutionality of the CFPB as it agreed to grant cert20mation on where to locate them. The implications herein Consumer Financial Protection Bureau v. Seila Law are that debt collectors that use electronic mail shouldLLC, 923 F.3d 680 (9th Cir. 2019). That decision is likely0be careful to include all required information in the con- to be released by the end of June. The Court may also2015 2016 2017 2018 2019tent of the e-mail itself, and not linked elsewhere. resolve the cy pres issue raised in the Gaos matterYear of Press ReleaseEleventh Circuit Finds Potential that Collecting Time- through another case that percolates up to the Court, Barred Debt Could Violate FDCPA. The Eleventhwhich may have significant implications for class action Circuit held in Holzman v. Malcolm S. Gerald & Asso- settlements.Although states are playing a bigger role percentage- which were federal, and 13 of which were joint actions wise, having a hand in 55% of enforcement actions,with state partners). Enforcement across all federal much of that is due to the diminished role of federalagencies is down, but the most dramatic drop off has agencies and regulators, rather than states pickingbeen at the DOJ and HUD. Enforcement has also WHAT TO WATCH up the slack. Indeed, since 2016, the decrease indipped dramatically across most product categories, consumer finance enforcement has been dramatic. Inwith student and auto lending being the notable Focus on the FDCPA, FCRA, and TCPA 2016, we tracked 175 actions (119 of which involved theexceptions. As discussed above, this is likely due to Continued constitutional challenges to government agencies and federal regulations federal government); in 2019, we tracked only 78 (48 ofboth the change in administration priorities, as well as 42 43'