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Consumer Financial Protection Bureau v. Gordon

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
819 F.3d 1179 (2016)


Chance Gordon (defendant), a lawyer, solicited clients through official-looking mailings that intentionally and falsely implied that Gordon was affiliated with the federal government, could renegotiate his clients' mortgaged-secured loans, and could protect clients from foreclosure. Gordon promised he would work for his clients on a pro bono basis, but in reality, clients had to pay for Gordon's services. The federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) (plaintiff) sued Gordon, alleging that Gordon's actions were unfair and deceptive practices that violated the Consumer Financial Protection Act (CFBA), 12 U.S.C. §§ 5531, 5536, and the CFPA's implementing regulation, Regulation O (12 C.F.R. §§ 1015.1--1015.11). Gordon responded that all his clients signed representation agreements that accurately described the services he would perform on their behalf, thereby curing any deceptive marketing practices he conducted. The federal district court judge found that Gordon's attempts to evade punishment undermined his "sincere assurances" to refrain from illegal behavior, and that Gordon presented a risk of future harm to consumers. The judge rejected certain remedies proposed by the CFPB as too harsh. Nevertheless, the judge granted the CFPB's motion for summary judgment; ordered Gordon to pay restitution for the unjust gains he derived from all his clients, even those who were satisfied with his services; and enjoined Gordon from practicing law for three years. Gordon appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Owens, J.)

Dissent (Ikuta, J.)

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