Every year, consumers purchase about $80 billion in gift cards, only to lose $8 billion loaded on those cards because of expiration dates and service fees that deplete the value of the cards. State legislators have tried to protect consumers by passing laws that would prohibit or limit the use of gift-card expiration dates and service fees, but the National Bank Act has undercut such laws. The federal law allows national banks to charge fees and impose expiration dates on the cards they issue. Because the National Bank Act is a federal law that preempts any conflicting state laws, state gift-card laws have no effect on gift cards issued by national banks. As a result, federal preemption allows gift-card issuers to circumvent state consumer protection laws by issuing their gift cards in conjunction with a national bank. Two recent cases heard in the circuit courts have, this Note argues, incorrectly allowed this consumer protection loophole created through the National Bank Act and the actions of some enterprising gift-card issuers because neither court considered congressional intent or that state gift-card laws are laws of general applicability to be applied to national banks. This Note proposes that Congress remove the loophole by passing a version of the Fair Gift Card Act that ensures consumers receive the full value of the gift cards they own.
Case Comment: Bhogaita v. Altamonte
EVERY DOG CAN HAVE HIS DAY IN COURT: THE USE OF ANIMALS AS DEMONSTRATIVE EXHIBITS Kyle R. Kroll, Volume 100, Online Managing Editor In Bhogaita v. Altamonte, the Eleventh Circuit recently decided whether to allow a dog in the courtroom as a demonstrative exhibit. Although the case presented many serious [...]
Revisiting Water Bankruptcy
REVISITING WATER BANKRUPTCY IN CALIFORNIA’S FOURTH YEAR OF DROUGHT Olivia Moe, Volume 100, Managing Editor This spring, as “extreme” to “exceptional” drought stretched across most of California—indicating that a four-year streak of drought was not about to resolve itself—Governor Jerry Brown issued an unprecedented order to reduce potable urban water [...]
Defying Auer Deference
DEFYING AUER DEFERENCE: SKIDMORE AS A SOLUTION TO CONSERVATIVE CONCERNS IN PEREZ v. MORTGAGE BANKERS ASSOCIATION Nicholas R. Bednar, Volume 100, Lead Articles Editor* On March 9, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States handed down its decision in Perez v. Mortgage Bankers Association.F The Court overturned the D.C. [...]