Author: T. Augustine Lo

T. Augustine Lo

Augustine is an associate in Dorsey’s Seattle office who assists clients with U.S. export control matters under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) and the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) and the various sanctions programs administered by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). He has also worked extensively on government enforcement actions, U.S. customs compliance matters, and commercial litigation matters.

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D.C. Circuit Upholds CFPB’s Constitutionality: Why the PHH Case Underscores the Importance of Internal Agency Discipline

On January 31, the D.C. Circuit issued a plurality opinion confirming the constitutionality of the CFPB governance by a sole Director, while reinstating the decision below that struck down the CFPB’s $109 million disgorgement demand in the underlying dispute. Moving forward, the decision puts the spotlight on several important issues for those interested in the CFPB’s activities.

Supreme Court Holds Debt Buyer Not Subject to FDCPA

In his first written opinion, Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote in Henson v. Santander Consumer USA, Inc. that the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act does not apply to debt buyers like Santander under one of the definitions for “debt collector.” This decision has potentially broad ramifications for financial institutions that purchase debts for collection as part of their business. At the same time, the decision leaves the door open to potential future disputes under the remaining definitions under the FDCPA.

D.C. Circuit Tosses Consumer Complaint Following Spokeo

On July 26, 2016, the D.C. Circuit rejected a consumer class action complaint based on alleged violations of two D.C. consumer protection statutes. Citing the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, the D.C. Circuit found that the lead plaintiffs did not sufficiently allege any harm suffered from the alleged violations.

Court Grants Student Loan Debt Relief to a Graduate of a Non-Accredited Medical School

On April 4, 2016, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of New York issued a decision that may significantly change the landscape of student debt relief. In re Decena, No. 15-72903, 2016 WL 1371031 (Bankr. E.D.N.Y. Apr. 4, 2016). Per Judge Robert Grossman, the court discharged the student loan of a hapless medical school graduate who studied at a non-accredited medical school in West Africa.

Update on the U.S. Supreme Court’s Inclusive Communities Decision

As previously reported on this blog, the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project, Inc., 135 S. Ct. 2507 (2015) adopted a burden-shifting approach to assessing claims that housing policies cause disparate impact on minority populations in violation of the Fair Housing Act (“FHA”) (42 U.S.C. § 3601). By adopting that approach, the Court confirmed the availability of this form of lawsuit against government entities that implement housing policies.