On March 20, 2024, the court forcefully denied the motion for expedited consideration of plaintiff’s preliminary injunction motion in the lawsuit challenging the Consumer Financial Bureau’s (“CFPB”) final credit card late fee rule. Plaintiffs, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, American Bankers Association, and Consumer Bankers Association, had filed the motion just the day before, asking the court to address their request for injunctive relief before determining the venue issue the judge in the case had raised sua sponte on March 18. In a succinct two-page opinion, Judge Mark Pittman of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Fort Worth Division, took umbrage with “Plaintiffs’ efforts to educate the Court on what they believe [it] does and does not need . . .” pointing out that he “has been a federal district Judge for almost five years and a judge generally for nearly a decade.”

In his March 18 order, Judge Pittman stated that “[t]he Court is [wary] that there appears to be an attenuated nexus to the Fort Worth Division, given only one plaintiff [the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce] of the six in this matter has even a remote tie to the Fort Worth Division.” The court set an expedited briefing schedule on the venue question and invited the CFPB to file a motion to transfer the case; the CFPB filed notice on Tuesday stating that it does intend to file such a motion.

Explaining, “[t]he Court understands the urgency with which Plaintiffs feel their case needs to proceed,” Judge Pittman provides a clear indication as to where he believes the case should have been filed:

. . . [t]he Northern District of Texas has one of the busiest dockets in the country. According to the Federal Court Management Statistics maintained by the Administrative Office of the United States Courts, for the 12-month period ending on December 30, 2023, the Northern District of Texas saw 7,012 filings (584 filings per judgeship). As of December 30, there were 473 pending cases per judgeship. For comparison, in the District of Columbia, there were a total of 4,467 filings (298 filings per judgeship and 427 pending cases per judgeship. . .

Pursuant to the court’s prior order, Plaintiffs must file their brief addressing the case’s connection to the Fort Worth Division and the CFPB must file their motion to transfer the case today, and then each party has until March 25 to respond.

We will continue to monitor the case as it develops.