On February 21, 2018, the United States Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision in Digital Realty Trust, Inc. v. Somers, holding that the anti-retaliation provisions in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 do not protect individuals who report suspected securities law violations to company management, but not to the Securities and Exchange Commission.
On February 9, 2018, the New Jersey Bureau of Securities issued an emergency order to stop the sale of securities by Bitstrade in the state. Bitstrade is offering investors participation in an investment pool that purportedly will be invested in cryptocurrencies and guaranteed 10% returns. The securities are offered to the public through a website. The Bureau found that Bitstrade was violating New Jersey securities laws by failing to make certain key disclosures, including how investors funds would be invested.
On February 13, 2018, the Mortgage Bankers Association, along with over 130 mortgage bankers from 40 states, sent an open letter to Congress highlighting what they view as the need for comprehensive secondary mortgage market reform. According to the letter, it “has been almost ten years since Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were placed into conservatorship. The undersigned lending institutions active in the mortgage markets are encouraged by the recent progress in Congress on comprehensive finance reform.”
The Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals and of the State of New York, Janet DiFiore, announced that as of March 1, 2018, all four Departments of the New York State Appellate Division will commence electronic filing in certain appellate matters and original proceedings.
On January 31, 2018, the full panel for the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld as constitutional the structure for the appointment of a Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) – reversing the Court’s prior October 2016 decision to the contrary.
On Monday, February 5, 2018, Freedom Debt Relief LLC, the nation’s largest debt settlement service company, sought dismissal of the CFPB’s suit against it claiming that the allegations did not show that anything the company did was unfair or deceptive. According to Freedom Debt Relief, “[t]he complaint is riddled with factual errors and supported by a handful of cherry-picked and out-of-context statements, with no allegation whatsoever of consumer harm. Discovery and presentation on a motion for summary judgment or at trial would demonstrate these material deficiencies; however, the court should not allow this case to proceed further.”
On February 7, 2018, the New York State Department of Financial Services (“DFS”) issued “Guidance on Prevention of Market Manipulation and Other Wrongful Activity”. The guidance was issued to all virtual currency business entities licensed under 23 NYSCC Part 200, or chartered as limited purpose trust companies under New York’s Banking Law. The purpose of the guidance was to address the “ongoing development of virtual currency-related markets.”
On January 22, 2018, in Artis v. District of Columbia, 538 U.S. ___ (2018), the United States Supreme Court held that the tolling provision set forth in the federal Supplemental Jurisdiction statute was a “stop-the-clock” provision – resolving a split among state supreme courts.
Acting Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Mick Mulvaney announced that the Office of Fair Lending and Equal Opportunity will no longer be part of the CFPB’s Supervision, Enforcement and Fair Lending Division.