Supreme Court Docket Report, October Term, 2003 - Number 8

Author:Ms Miriam Nemetz
Profession:Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw LLP
 
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On January 20, 2004, the Supreme Court granted certiorari in one case of potential interest to the business community. Amicus briefs in support of the petitioner are due on Friday, March 5, 2004, and amicus briefs in support of the respondent are due on Monday, April 5, 2004.

Truth In Lending Act - Cap On Statutory Damages For Failure To Disclose Finance Charge. The Truth In Lending Act ("TILA"), 15 U.S.C. ßß 1601 et seq., imposes disclosure requirements in a broad range of consumer credit transactions. As originally enacted in 1968, the statute allowed individuals to recover from a creditor that has failed to disclose a finance charge "twice the amount of the finance charge in connection with the transaction, except that the liability under this paragraph shall not be less than $100 nor greater than $1000 * * * ."Consumer Credit Protection Act ß 130(a). As subsequently amended to permit actual damages and to cover additional types of credit transactions, TILA's civil damages provision now states:

[A]ny creditor who fails to comply with any requirement imposed under this part * * * with respect to any person is liable to such person in an amount equal to the sum of -

(1) any actual damages sustained by such person as a result of the failure;

(2)(A)(i) in the case of an individual action twice the amount of any finance charge in the transaction, (ii) in the case of an individual action relating to a consumer lease under part E of this subchapter, 25 per centum of the total amount of the monthly payments under the lease, except that the liability under this subparagraph shall not be less than $100 nor greater than $1000, or (iii) in the case of an individual action relating to a credit transaction not under an open end credit plan that is secured by real property or a dwelling, not less than $200 or greater than $2,000.

15 U.S.C. ß 1640(a).

The Supreme Court granted certiorari in Koons Buck Pontiac GMC, Inc. v. Bradley Nigh, No. 03-377, to decide whether Section 1640(a) caps at $1,000 the non-compensatory damages for failure to report a finance charge accurately, or whether instead plaintiffs are entitled to recover twice the amount of the finance...

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