In an Order issued on March 17, a U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota dismissed an enforcement action filed by the CFPB against a payment processor and its two top executives. The Bureau had filed the lawsuit last year against a Fargo-based third-party payment firm, and its co-owners, alleging that the firm had “ignored” warnings from financial institutions of possible unauthorized debits and other possibly suspicious activity, including the possibility that the firm was processing electronic funds transfers on behalf of payday lenders in states where payday loans are illegal.

In granting Defendants’ motion to dismiss without prejudice, the Court held, among other things, that the CFPB had failed to “plead[] facts sufficient to support the legal conclusion that consumers were injured or likely to be injured” by the actions attributed to the defendants in the complaint. As explained by the Court, "[a]lthough the complaint need not contain detailed factual allegations, it must contain 'more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation.” The Court emphasized both that (i) “[f]ormulaic recitations of the elements of a claim or assertions lacking factual enhancement are not sufficient,” and (ii) that “[t]he facts alleged in the complaint must be plausible, not merely conceivable.” Applying this standard, the Court ultimately held that the CFPB’s complaint “d[id] not contain sufficient factual allegations to back up its conclusory statements regarding Intercept’s allegedly unlawful acts or omissions.”