On June 29, 2020, the Supreme Court adopted Bienert | Katzman’s arguments and held in Seila Law v. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that the structure of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) violates constitutional separation of powers by having a single director removable only for cause. Bienert | Katzman represented the prevailing party at the Supreme Court and through all stages of the litigation, spanning several years.

In 2017, as a continuation of litigation arising years earlier, the CFPB issued a civil investigative demand to Bienert | Katzman’s client, a law firm under investigation by the CFPB. Bienert | Katzman objected to the demand on the grounds that the CFPB’s leadership structure violated constitutional separation of powers. The CFPB filed a petition in the United States District Court to enforce the demand. The court granted the petition, and the Ninth Circuit affirmed. Throughout the litigation, Bienert | Katzman continued to dispute the constitutionality of the CFPB.

Bienert | Katzman’s client successfully petitioned the United States Supreme Court to review, and the Court granted the petition. In a decision by Chief Justice Roberts, the Supreme Court agreed with Bienert | Katzman that the CFPB’s structure was unconstitutional. While the Court allowed the CFPB to continue its existence so long as its director is removable by the President at will, it left open the question of whether the CFPB could ratify the civil investigative demand to cure the constitutional defect and remanded to the Ninth Circuit to resolve that issue.

The Supreme Court’s decision is the product of several years of hard-fought litigation by Bienert | Katzman partners Tom Bienert and Tony Bisconti, who identified the constitutional issue early on and relentlessly pursued it administratively, before the trial court, and through appeal before the Ninth Circuit and the Supreme Court. This included obtaining multiple stays of the civil investigative demand before the Ninth Circuit to preserve the issue while seeking Supreme Court review.

A copy of the Supreme Court’s decision in Seila Law v. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is available here.

Related Insights

May 14, 2024 Case Successes

Motion to Dismiss Secured for High-Profile Client in Alleged Abuse Case

On May 9, 2024, a Utah Court dismissed the case against Bienert Katzman Littrell Williams LLP’s client Katherine Ballard with prejudice under Utah’s newly enacted Uniform Public Expression Protection Act (Utah.Stat. §...
Nov 23, 2023 Case Successes

BKLW wins defense verdict for client accused of conspiring to steal biomedical trade secrets

Bienert Katzman Littrell Williams LLP scored a complete victory at trial for its client Nathan Boulais, who had been accused of violating, and conspiring with others to violate, the federal civil RICO statute based on...
Jun 30, 2023 Case Successes

Larry Flynt’s brother won’t receive a “single penny” in sweeping BKLW victory

Elizabeth Flynt, the widow of media mogul and First Amendment defender Larry Flynt, and Bienert Katzman Littrell Williams LLP client, scored a complete victory in the lawsuit filed against her by Mr. Flynt’s estranged...