A Really Big Dispute Over One Little Word

In our world, words matter. J.K. Rowling, author of the famous “Harry Potter” book series has called them “our most inexhaustible source of magic.”  But things are far from “magical” over at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau where a single word has everyone there asking the question, “Ok…so WHO is running this thing?”

As reported by USA Today, the Dodd-Frank Act created the bureau as an independent federal agency, to be led by a single director. The bureau’s first director, Richard Cordray, resigned last week and Leandra English, the deputy director, became the agency’s acting director by law, according to a lawsuit filed by English on Sunday. Why the suit, you ask?

Well, because hours after Cordray’s resignation, President Donald Trump announced he was instead appointing his budget director, Mick Mulvaney, to head the CFPB on an interim basis. Today, both English and Mulvaney are claiming authority over the agency, and even sending e-mails to confused employees as acting director.

Here’s the nitty gritty —

According to English’s complaint filed in federal court, the Dodd-Frank Act clearly mandates that English, as the deputy director, shall serve as the acting director. The Department of Justice disagrees. In a memo, the DOJ concluded that Trump has the authority to name Mulvaney the acting head of the agency.

It actually all comes down to a disagreement about the meaning of the word “exclusive” in the laws governing this agency. And as you might expect, the courts will have to decide which interpretation is right.

Do you have any words in your agreements (like exclusive?) that could be potentially misinterpreted and thus land your company in court?  Then the time is now to call in a wonderful wordsmithing wizard like Dean Sperling who can review everything to ensure that any legal matters affecting your business are quickly and effectively resolved with YOUR best interests in mind.

More on the case:
The dispute over Trump’s consumer appointment could hinge on one word