A District Court judge in Tennessee has denied a plaintiff’s motion for a temporary injunction seeking to block the enactment of an interim final rule saying that collectors may face prosecution under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act for not providing written notices to individuals being evicted, determining that the rule does not apply where courts have blocked the eviction order from being enforced.
A copy of the ruling in the case of Property Management Connection v. Uejio, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau et al can be accessed by clicking here.
The plaintiffs filed their suit against the CFPB and its acting director last week, claiming the requirement to provide clear and conspicuous disclosures to individuals on the same date as an eviction notice or on the date an eviction action is filed violates the First Amendment and the Administrative Procedures Act. The interim final rule is in response to an eviction moratorium that was instituted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to contain the spread of COVID-19. But a number of courts have held that the eviction moratorium put in place by the CDC is unlawful, including a court in Tennessee, where this complaint was filed. The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has also said that the CDC overstepped its authority by issuing the eviction moratorium.
Nonetheless, Judge Eli Richardson of the District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee denied the plaintiff’s motion for a temporary injunction blocking the enactment of the rule. Making it clear he was not making any determinations as to the “wisdom or fairness” of the rule or the CDC’s order or whether the rule is “unlikely lawful for any reason other than the particular ones” put forth by the plaintiffs, Judge Richardson said the plaintiffs were not entitled to the “extraordinary remedy” of a temporary restraining order.
“By its very terms, the rule compels nothing at all — including disclosure of false speech — in jurisdictions where the CDC order does not apply (whether due to a court order declaring the rule invalid, or to something else),” Judge Richardson wrote.