Today, the law firm of Fredrick J. Hanna & Associates filed a motion to dismiss the enforcement action brought by the CFPB against it in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. A copy of the motion is available here.
The motion points out that the claims by the CFPB under the Dodd-Frank Act are barred because the Act expressly prohibits the Bureau from bringing any claim against a lawyer for conduct that constitutes the practice of law, and the claims asserted by the CFPB revolve solely around the practice of law – filing lawsuits in court and supporting those lawsuits with affidavits.
The motion also argues that the CFPB has failed to state a claim under the FDCPA or Dodd-Frank, because there is no standard under federal law requiring “meaningful attorney involvement” in filing a lawsuit in court – the “meaningful involvement” standard arose in connection with debt collection letters, and has no application to lawsuits filed in court. Further, the motion points out that the CFPB has failed to identify any instance in which the Hanna firm ever filed an affidavit from a client that “lacked personal knowledge,” or any facts from which it could be inferred that the firm was aware of any such affidavits.
Finally, the motion argues that the Bureau’s attempt to bring claims going back to 2009 is barred by the one-year statute of limitations in the FDCPA and the non-retroactivity of Dodd-Frank, which became effective in 2011.
My colleagues Stefanie Jackman and Jonathan Selkowitz and I are proud to represent Hanna in the lawsuit, along with our co-counsel, Mike Bowers and Chris Anulewicz at Balch & Bingham.