CHARLESTON — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey is pleased the U.S. Supreme Court has opted not to hear CashCall Inc.’s request for review of a state Supreme Court ruling.
In March, Morrisey’s office filed a brief in opposition to CashCall’s request for U.S. Supreme Court review. The brief states that the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals’ correctly upheld a $13.8 million Kanawha Circuit Court judgment against CashCall. The judgment, which was entered in 2012 and upheld by the state Supreme Court in 2014, found that CashCall engaged in abusive debt collections, violated state lending laws, owed consumers restitution, and had to reimburse the state for attorneys’ fees.
“Our office will always work for consumers against businesses who engage in unfair or unscrupulous business practices,” Morrisey said in a statement Monday. “We are pleased that the U.S. Supreme Court denied CashCall’s petition and that we are another step closer to helping the consumers involved in this case.”
CashCall was trying to undo one part of the judgment: the state court’s decision that the company had to follow state interest rate limits when it made consumer loans in West Virginia.
Under West Virginia law, consumer loans are capped at 18% interest. Under the Federal Deposit Insurance Act, state banks can charge on loans in other states interest rates that would be otherwise be unlawful if they are legal in their home state. CashCall, which is not a bank, claimed that it could take advantage of this federal law to charge as much as 96 percent interest in West Virginia because it associated with a South Dakota state bank. The Circuit Court and state Supreme Court ruled that because CashCall bore the “predominant economic interest” in the loans, it – and not the bank – was the true lender and had to abide by West Virginia’s lending laws.
“CashCall tried its hardest to portray this case as an exceptional and calculated attack on an important federal law, but the reality is quite different,” Morrisey said.
“We believe this case is important for West Virginia consumers and we are pleased that the U.S. Supreme Court saw the matter our way,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “As Attorney General, I have made a specific effort to ensure that the state’s lawyers can match up with the best attorneys in any venue, including the highest court in the land, and this victory for West Virginia consumers is evidence of that.”