The 2015 amendments to the West Virginia Consumer Credit and Protection Act (‘WVCCPA”) are not retroactive, according to a federal court in West Virginia. In O’Dell v. USAA Federal Savvngs Bank aka USAA, the court rejected a bank’s argument that the WVCCPA statute in effect at the time of trial applies. The court determined the WVCCPA amendments could not be applied to a scenario that predated their effectiveness.
Although a 2016 decision from the district court first announced a similar ruling, the bank had argued a footnote in a 2017 opinion from the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia disagreed with that ruling. In that footnote, the Supreme Court, in analyzing a WVCCPA statute in effect prior to the 2015 amendment, explained it would not consider the amendment to the statute “because it was not in effect as of the date of the bench trial in this matter.” Although the district court agreed the Supreme Court’s footnote was “loosely phrased,” it refused to retreat from the statutory directive that statutes are presumed to be prospective in their operation unless expressly made retrospective. Accordingly, the district court declined to apply the 2015 amendments to facts that occurred prior to June 12, 2015.
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