Practice Areas & Industries: Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP


Consumer Financial Services Return to Practice Areas & Industries

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Practice/Industry Group Overview

Sutherland combines regulatory knowledge, industry familiarity and courtroom skill to provide seamless consumer financial services representation.

Today many consumer financial services companies find themselves the target of unprecedented regulatory action and legislative attention, as well as individual and class actions. The Dodd-Frank Act and newly formed Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) transformed the regulatory landscape and presents the industry with new challenges.

Defending consumer financial services litigation requires not only mastery of the substantive law—with its interrelated statutes and regulatory regimes—but also a command of subjects including class action defense, removal, arbitration and appealability. Sutherland’s team has deep and extensive experience in these areas. Our renowned litigation practice has extensive experience in consumer financial services law; many of the cases we handle are complex class actions and bet the company litigation. We litigate, among other things, fair lending claims, enforcement of consumer arbitration provisions and related class action waivers, truth-in-lending compliance, unfair trade practices and investigations/examinations by the CFPB and other governmental entities.

Our litigators have a national reputation for successful courtroom outcomes and out-of-court resolutions. We also have extensive experience arbitrating matters before all major arbitration service providers. Nearly one-quarter of the firm’s attorneys are litigators and have appeared in state and federal courtrooms around the country, including the U.S. Supreme Court. In the past decade we have defended consumer financial services class actions and other financial services related cases in state and federal courts across the country.

Why Sutherland
Ahead of trends.
We closely monitor new developments that could impact consumer finance companies such as actions by the CFPB and evolving state and federal regulatory priorities, working proactively without clients to avoid potential lawsuits.

Leadership. Our consumer financial services litigation attorneys frequently lecture on topics involving consumer finance litigation and related areas.  Sutherland Partner B. Knox Dobbins and Special Counsel Jason D. Stone recently published “The Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010 - An Annotated Guide.” Additionally, we maintain to provide updates to our clients on issues as they develop in the wake of the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010.
Litigators with institutional memory. Consumer financial services litigation requires knowledge of how the business works and how it is and has been regulated. Sutherland’s litigators bring that institutional memory to new problems.

Crisis management. We are accustomed to high profile litigation and working with the client’s public relations and media experts when clients are targeted for criticism in connection with litigation or enforcement actions. For more information on our crisis management experience visit
Nuts and Bolts
Our attorneys cover the full range of matters involving consumer financial services litigation, including:

  • Automobile lending and leasing
  • Enforcing consumer arbitration provisions and class action waivers
  • Insurance and ancillary products sold in connection with consumer loans
  • Fair lending, including the Equal Credit Opportunity Act
  • Service Members Civil Relief Act
  • Truth-in-lending compliance
  • State unfair trade practice laws
  • Credit Repair Organizations Act
  • Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
  • Fair Credit Reporting Act
  • So-called predatory or subprime lending
  • Bankruptcy discharge and other class actions
  • State attorney general enforcement actions
  • Remedies under the Uniform Commercial Code and state retail finance statutes
  • Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Take Action
When consumer financial services companies are threatened with lawsuits, regulatory actions or investigations, they can turn to the experienced team at Sutherland to set a path toward resolution.

Selected Experience
Sutherland oversees all significant litigation for one of the United States’ largest consumer finance companies.
Sutherland is principal outside counsel to one of the nation’s largest consumer finance companies and represents the company in all of its significant litigation, including class actions filed across the country alleging violations of various federal and state consumer protection laws. Our attorneys currently oversee cases for this client in courts and in arbitration in numerous states.

Sutherland defends automotive finance company in wave of fair lending cases.
Sutherland defended one of the world’s largest auto finance companies in a series of nationwide class actions challenging discretionary credit pricing by originating dealers brought under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act. Our class action was the only one to be tried and the first case to be denied certification.

Sutherland represents vehicle lessor in acquisition fee class actions.
Sutherland secured dismissals in five states on behalf of two major consumer leasing companies in a series of class actions in state and federal courts challenging the nondisclosure of administrative fees included in rent charges to consumers.

Articles Authored by Lawyers at this office:

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Baucus Releases International Business Tax Reform Discussion Draft
, November 27, 2013
On November 19, 2013, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) released a “Discussion Draft” of international tax reform proposals. The Discussion Draft proposes significant changes to the taxation of foreign income, including substantially expanding the definition of...

New CFTC Rules Provide Broad Enhancement of Protections for Customers of FCMs - But at a Cost
, November 15, 2013
On October 30, 2013, in a 3-1 vote, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC or the Commission) approved final rules that significantly strengthen the protections afforded to customers of futures commission merchants (FCMs). “Enhancing Protections Afforded Customers and Customer Funds...

Georgia Supreme Court Declines to Review Decision Regarding Limitation-of-Liability Clauses in Customer Contracts
, November 08, 2013
This week, the Georgia Supreme Court denied a request to review a divided Georgia Court of Appeals decision with potentially far-reaching consequences for companies that do business in Georgia and rely on limitation-of-liability clauses in their customer contracts. Monitronics International v....

California Strengthens Data Privacy and Breach Notification Laws
, October 15, 2013
At the end of September, California passed two new amendments to existing data privacy laws aimed to protect California consumers. The first focuses on the collection of personal information and requires companies engaged in such practices to disclose whether they honor web browser “do not...

New TCPA Rules Take Effect for Telemarketing Calls
Wilson G. Barmeyer,Thomas M. Byrne,Lewis S. Wiener, October 15, 2013
Significant regulatory changes are taking effect under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) on October 16, 2013, due to a revision of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) TCPA rule. The amended rule will now require that consent be in writing for autodialed or prerecorded...

Payment Processors as CFPB "Chokepoints"
Keith J. Barnett,B. Knox Dobbins,Robert J. Pile,Marc A. Rawls,Lewis S. Wiener, October 11, 2013
This is how senior officials at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB or the Bureau) referred to payment processor Meracord, LLC and its owner and CEO upon the October 3, 2013 announcement of a consent judgment imposing a $1.376 million joint and several civil money penalty. The penalty,...

PCAOB Offers Guidance for Accounting Firms and Accountants Preparing Written Statements of Position
Samuel J. Casey,Patricia A. Gorham,Kurt Lentz,Amelia Toy Rudolph, September 26, 2013
On September 19 and 20, 2013, the American Law Institute presented its annual course, Accountants’ Liability: Managing Risks in a Changing Environment. One highlight of the conference was a Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) panel presentation featuring Claudius B. Modesti,...

An Ode to the Actuaries: Tax Court Concludes that Acuity’s Loss Reserves Were “Fair and Reasonable”
, September 12, 2013
On September 4, the United States Tax Court issued its opinion in Acuity v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 2013-209. In brief, the court concluded that Acuity’s reserves for unpaid losses and loss adjustment expenses for 2006, as used by the company in computing “losses incurred”...

After Four Years of Increased Activity, FINRA’s Sanctions Are Dropping in 2013
Andrew M. McCormick,Brian L. Rubin, September 10, 2013
Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) 2013 fines and disciplinary actions are on track to fall well short of 2012’s totals. During the first half of 2013, FINRA reported $23 million of fines in its monthly Disciplinary and Other FINRA Actions publications. In contrast, during the...

New Final Regs on Use of Differential Income Stream in Evaluating Cost-Sharing Arrangements
, September 04, 2013
On August 26, 2013, the United States Treasury Department issued new final regulations under Internal Revenue Code (IRC) Section 482. The new regulations provide guidance on the “income method” for determining taxable income in connection with cost-sharing arrangements (CSAs) entered...

Litigation Update on 14 Patronage Capital Cases in Eight States
Benjamin C. Morgan,James A. Orr, August 29, 2013
Since 2009, at least 14 cases have been filed against electric cooperatives over patronage capital (or capital credits) in eight states: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Texas. Sutherland has previously issued Legal Alerts regarding these...

CFTC Issues Highly Anticipated Harmonization Rules
, August 15, 2013
Today, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) provided long-awaited clarification and relief to investment advisers that are registered with the CFTC as commodity pool operators (CPOs) and/or commodity trading advisors (CTAs). The CFTC issued final rules to harmonize certain compliance...

An End-User’s Guide to the CFTC’s Final Cross-Border Guidance
, August 09, 2013
Last month, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) issued final interpretive guidance with respect to the cross-border application of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act’s (Dodd-Frank Act) requirements for swaps (Final Guidance). This Legal Alert...

From Insurer’s Shield to Insured’s Sword: California Supreme Court Authorizes Policyholder Unfair Competition Law Claims for Unfair Insurance Practices
David W. Arrojo,Wilson G. Barmeyer,Phillip E. Stano,Steuart H. Thomsen, August 09, 2013
On August 1, 2013, the California Supreme Court ruled in Zhang v. The Superior Court of San Bernardino County, No. S178542 (Cal. Aug. 1, 2013) that insurance practices violating the state’s Unfair Insurance Practices Act (UIPA) may also support a first-party action under California’s...

Ready or Not: Lost Securityholders, Uncashed Checks and Dormant Accounts
, August 09, 2013
In the dog days of August, it would be tempting to put aside challenges created by new Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rules. But we all know that would be a mistake. Instead, attention needs to be paid now to new rules requiring searches for lost securityholders and persons holding...

BATSA Up: Congress Once Again Considers Nexus Legislation
Andrew D. Appleby,Zachary T. Atkins,Madison J. Barnett,Marlys A. Bergstrom,Jonathan A. Feldman, April 27, 2011
Would Thomas Jefferson approve of Congress imposing its will on state efforts to collect income tax from out-of-state companies? That was the question posed by Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) to two sponsors of the Business Activity Tax Simplification Act of 2011 (BATSA) (H.R. 1439) who both happen to be...