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Highlight Updates Most Court Decisions Use a January 21, 2013 Effective Date

One early federal court RESPA decision finds that Dodd-Frank § 1400(c)(3), which sets out a January 21, 2013 effective date, refers not just to paragraphs (c)(1) and (c)(2), but to any Dodd-Frank title XIV provision, whether rulemaking is required or not.172 It reached this conclusion because the title for section 1400(c) included a semi-colon instead of a colon: “Regulations; Effective Date.” The court found the use of a semicolon to mean that section 1400(c)(3) did not only refer back to paragraphs (c)(1) and (c)(2), but instead referred to all title XIV provisions.173 Even less convincingly, the court also pointed out that Westlaw and Lexis and the Government Printing Office assumed a January 21, 2013 effective date.174 But, of course, none of these entities are empowered to interpret federal law—that is the job of the courts.

A few other courts have also used a January 21, 2013 effective date for Dodd-Frank title XIV provisions not requiring rulemaking. These RESPA decisions, though, were issued with little or no justification for their conclusion.175

A more coherent justification for a January 21, 2013 effective date is found in a Virginia federal court TILA decision.176 That court found inconclusive the statutory language and the relationship of paragraph (c)(3) to paragraphs (c)(1) and (c)(2). Instead the court relied almost exclusively177 on the Dodd-Frank Act’s legislative history, and in particular on a floor statement by Senator Dodd discussing the conference report:

There are a number of provisions in title XIV for which there is not a specified effective date other than what is provided in section 1400(c). It is the intention of the conferees that provisions in title XIV that do not require regulations become effective no later than 18 months after the designated transfer date for the CFPB, as required by section 1400(c). However, the conferees encourage the Federal Reserve Board and the [Consumer Financial Protection Bureau] to act as expeditiously as possible to promulgate regulations so that the provisions of title XIV are put into effect sooner.178


  • 172 {172} Williams v. Wells Fargo Bank N.A., 2011 WL 4368980 (S.D. Fla. Sept. 19, 2011). See also Nguyen v. Aurora Loan Servs., L.L.C., 614 Fed. Appx. 881, 884 (9th Cir. 2015) (ruling that the effective date of 15 U.S.C. § 1639f was January 21, 2013, without discussion); Bever v. Cal-Western Reconveyance Corp., 2012 WL 2522563 (E.D. Cal. June 28, 2012); Parker v. PHH Mortgage Corp., 2012 WL 13020821 (E.D. Ark. Jan. 3, 2012) (relying on Williams to apply January 21, 2013 effective date to 15 U.S.C. § 1639f and stating without analysis that § 1400(c)(3) applies to provisions without regulations, including those that did not require regulations).

  • 173 {173} But see Hummel v. Hall, 868 F. Supp. 2d 543 (W.D. Va. 2012) (rejecting this conclusion).

  • 174 {174} Williams v. Wells Fargo Bank N.A., 2011 WL 4368980 (S.D. Fla. Sept. 19, 2011).

  • 175 {175} See Fazio v. Experian Info. Solutions, 2012 WL 2119253 (N.D. Cal. June 11, 2012); Fenske-Buchanan v. Bank of Am., N.A., 2012 WL 1204930 (W.D. Wash. Apr. 11, 2012); Patton v. Ocwen Loan Servicing, L.L.C., 2011 WL 3236026 (M.D. Fla. July 28, 2011).

  • 176 {176} Hummel v. Hall, 868 F. Supp. 2d 543 (W.D. Va. 2012). Accord Rubinstein v. Dep’t Stores, 955 F. Supp. 2d 260 (S.D.N.Y. 2013); Zevon v. Dep’t Stores Nat’l Bank, 2013 WL 5903024 (S.D.N.Y. Nov. 4, 2013); Nelson-Ramsey v. Deer Valley Auto Sales & Fleet Servs., Inc., 2012 WL 2990762 (D. Ariz. July 20, 2012).

  • 177 {177} The court did reference the Government Printing Office (GPO) use of a January 21, 2013 effective date, but a GPO printing decision can hardly be viewed as precedential or a substitute for a court’s independent analysis.

  • 178 {178} 156 Cong. Rec. S5902-10, at S5928, 2010 WL 2788026 (daily ed. July 15, 2010).