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SACRAMENTO – Just because the different parties to the lawsuit over California’s credit card disclosure law have agreed that the law will not apply to either state or federally chartered institutions, that does not necessarily mean the state will not appeal the Court’s overall decision, NAFCU and CUNA legal executives have said. Late on the evening of Jan. 10, lawyers from CUNA, NAFCU and the other parties to the suit, including the California Attorney General, reached an agreement that held that state chartered institutions would not have to comply with the law as long as federally chartered institutions did not have to do so. The Court’s late December opinion held that federally chartered institutions did not have to comply with the law but left the question of whether state charted card issuers had to do so up in the air. But the agreement reached did not address whether or not the state would still appeal the Court’s ruling, a topic upon which NAFCU has received “mixed signals” from the Attorney General’s Office according to NAFCU General Counsel Bill Donovan. Mary Dunn, associate general counsel for CUNA agreed that the deal struck on the 10th left the possibility open. But she also said that the participation of the attorney general in the agreement made it “highly unlikely” there would be an appeal. She also pointed out that the Court also had to sign off on the deal, which was widely expected she said. Neither association had done any analysis of how much political pressure to appeal the Court’s decision the attorney general might be under from the law’s supporters in the California legislature. Dunn also pointed out that consumer advocates in the legislature remained free to try to craft a law that met the same ends but in a way that was more likely to pass the Court’s scrutiny.

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