On July 1, the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland affirmed a state circuit court’s ruling, holding that “a consumer borrower may maintain a cause of action against a credit grantor under the Credit Grantor Closed End Credit Provisions (CLEC). . .before the credit grantor has collected more than the principal amount of the loan.” In 2014, the borrower entered into a loan agreement with the credit grantor. Although the borrower allegedly made numerous payments on the credit contract, her personal property was repossessed in 2017. She filed a CLEC claim against the credit grantor, alleging the company “specifically refused” to provide her with a requested written statement memorializing her account history, “including all debits and credits to her account and any monthly statements sent to [her] and all other documents which refer to payments due or received.” The credit grantor moved to dismiss, arguing, among other things, that the borrower was not entitled to monetary recovery under CLEC and that she failed to allege that she paid amounts in excess of the principal, and as such, did not assert a proper claim under CLEC. The borrower countered “that ‘CLEC damages are available regardless of whether a credit grantor has collected more than [the] principal amount of the loan,” and that furthermore, citing several cases, “‘[t]he relief that is provided by CLEC § 12-1018 has also already been determined by Maryland Appellate Courts and includes monetary, equitable and declaratory relief[.]’” The circuit court granted the credit grantor’s motion to dismiss, in part, as to the CLEC claim, holding that when relying on the plain language of the statute, the consumer was not entitled to relief.
On appeal, the Court of Special Appeals held, based on CLEC’s plain language, statutory construction, legislative history, and precedent that a consumer can bring a claim under CLEC for damages, and/or declaratory and injunctive relief before the consumer has paid amounts in excess of principal. However, because the borrower had “failed to allege actual damages or request other appropriate relief under CLEC,” the Court of Special Appeals affirmed the judgment of the circuit court dismissing her CLEC claim.