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Local / State

Injunction Overturned In Consumer Loan Fight

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Attorney General Pam Bondi

An appeals court Friday tossed out a temporary injunction that Attorney General Pam Bondi and the state Office of Financial Regulation sought amid a legal fight about high-interest consumer loans.

Defendants in the case have contended that the loans are not subject to Florida law because they were made by Western Sky Financial LLC, which is owned by a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and does business from within the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation in South Dakota, said the ruling by the 2nd District Court of Appeal.

The defendants have argued the loans are subject to the laws and legal jurisdiction of the tribe. State officials have countered, in part, that the loans' interest rates exceed the maximum allowed under Florida law.

A Hillsborough County circuit judge approved a temporary injunction that required loan proceeds collected during the legal battle to be placed into a court registry and that an additional reserve of $1 million be established.

But a three-judge panel of the appeals court reversed that decision, writing Friday that the state "failed to meet its burden to demonstrate a clear legal right to the injunction.”

The defendants in the case include Western Sky Financial, three other firms --- CashCall Inc., WS Funding LLC and Delbert Services Corporation --- and one individual. The appeals-court ruling does not provide details about each of the firms, though it indicates a role in servicing loans acquired from Western Sky.