IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
May 21, 2012
Mr. Blumenthal introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Armed Services
To amend title 10, United States Code, to provide for relief in civil actions for violations of the protections on credit extended to members of the Armed Forces and their dependents.
Relief in civil actions for violations of protections on consumer credit extended to members of the Armed Forces and their dependents
Section 987(f) of title 10, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following new paragraph:
A person who violates this section with respect to any person is civilly liable to such person for—
any actual damage sustained as a result, but not less than $500 for each violation;
appropriate punitive damages;
appropriate equitable or declaratory relief;
any other relief provided by law;
in any successful action to enforce the foregoing liability, the costs of the action, together with reasonable attorney fees as determined by the court; and
in any successful action by a defendant under this section, if the court finds the action was brought in bad faith and for the purpose of harassment, attorney fees of the defendant as determined by the court to be reasonable in relation to the work expended and costs incurred.
A person may not be held liable for civil liability under this paragraph if the person shows by a preponderance of evidence that the violation was not intentional and resulted from a bona fide error notwithstanding the maintenance of procedures reasonably adapted to avoid any such error. Examples of a bona fide error include clerical, calculation, computer malfunction and programming, and printing errors, except that an error of legal judgment with respect to a person’s obligations under this section is not a bona fide error.
Jurisdiction and venue; limitation
An action for civil liability under this paragraph may be brought in any appropriate United States district court, without regard to the amount in controversy, or in any other court of competent jurisdiction, not later than the earlier of—
two years after the date of discovery by the plaintiff of the violation that is the basis for such liability; or
five years after the date on which the violation that is the basis for such liability occurs.
The amendment made by this section and shall take effect on the date of the enactment of this Act, and shall apply with respect to consumer credit extended on or after that date.