Lenity, Chevron Deference And Consumer Protection Laws

Law360, New York (January 16, 2014, 12:48 AM EST) -- “When lenity and cruelty play for a kingdom, the gentler gamester is the soonest winner.” —William Shakespeare, Henry V

Several federal statutes, including the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (“RESPA”), the Truth in Lending Act (“TILA”) and the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (“SCRA”) permit the government to seek either civil or criminal penalties for the same conduct. While the executive branch has used its ability to promulgate regulations, publish policy statements and initiate enforcement actions to expand the scope of these laws, a recent decision from...
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