[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 27 (Monday, February 10, 2014)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 7569-7570]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-02115]


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BUREAU OF CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION

12 CFR Part 1071

[Docket No: CFPB-2012-0020]
RIN 3170-AA27


Equal Access to Justice Act Implementation Rule

AGENCY: Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection.

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: On June 29, 2012, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau 
(Bureau) published in the Federal Register an interim final rule 
implementing the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA or the Act). EAJA 
requires agencies that conduct adversary adjudications to award 
attorney fees and other litigation expenses to certain parties other 
than the United States in certain circumstances. EAJA also requires 
agencies that conduct adversary adjudications to establish procedures 
for the submission and consideration of applications for the award of 
fees and other expenses. After reviewing and considering the single 
public comment offered on its interim final rule, the Bureau adopts the 
interim final rule without change.

DATES: This final rule is effective on March 12, 2014.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: John R. Coleman, Senior Counsel, Legal 
Division, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, 1700 G Street NW., 
Washington, DC 20552; (202) 435-7254.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background

    Originally enacted in 1980, EAJA provides that ``[a]n agency that 
conducts an adversary adjudication shall award, to a prevailing party 
other than the United States, fees and other expenses incurred by that 
party in connection with that proceeding, unless the adjudicative 
officer of the agency finds that the position of the agency was 
substantially justified or that special circumstances make an award 
unjust.'' 5 U.S.C. 504(a)(1). The Administrative Conference of the 
United States (ACUS) was charged with coordination of the procedural 
rules adopted by various agencies to implement EAJA. To carry out this 
responsibility, ACUS issued model rules implementing EAJA (46 FR 32900, 
June 25, 1981), after receiving public comment on draft model rules (46 
FR 15895, March 10, 1981). ACUS published revised model rules in 1986 
that reflected the amendments Congress made when it re-authorized the 
Act in 1985. 51 FR 16659 (May 6, 1986), previously codified at 1 CFR 
part 315 (1995); see Administrative Conference of the U.S., Federal 
Administrative Procedure Sourcebook at 419 (2d ed. 1992). ACUS did not 
publish model rules reflecting amendments to the Act made since 1985 
before ACUS was temporarily defunded in 1996.
    When drafting the interim final rule, the Bureau used the 1986 ACUS 
model rules as a point of departure, modifying them to put them in 
plain language, to reflect more recent amendments to the Act, and to 
make certain changes the Bureau believed were warranted for reasons 
explained in the section-by-section analysis published with the interim 
final rule.
    On June 29, 2012, the Bureau published its interim final rule 
implementing EAJA with a request for comment. 77 FR 39117. The interim 
final rule described each section of the rule and explained the basis 
of the rule with reference to the ACUS model rules, or those of other 
agencies, as appropriate. The comment period on the interim final rule 
ended on August 28, 2012. After reviewing and considering the single 
public comment offered, the Bureau is now promulgating its final rule 
implementing EAJA.

II. Legal Authority

    The Bureau promulgates the final rule pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 
504(c)(1).

III. Public Comment on the Interim Final Rule

    In response to the interim final rule, the Bureau received one 
letter from an individual consumer. The comment letter from the 
consumer did not contain any specific comments or suggestions 
pertaining to the interim final rule. Accordingly, the Bureau is 
adopting the interim final rule without change.

IV. Regulatory Requirements

    As noted in publishing the Interim Final Rule, under the 
Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. 553(b), notice and comment is 
not required for rules of agency organization, procedure, or practice. 
As discussed in the preamble to the Interim Final Rule, the Bureau 
confirms its finding that this is a procedural rule for which notice 
and comment is not required. Because no notice of proposed rulemaking 
is required, the Regulatory Flexibility Act does not require an initial 
or final regulatory flexibility analysis. 5 U.S.C. 603(a), 604(a).

V. Paperwork Reduction Act

    According to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA) (44 U.S.C. 
3501 et seq.) the Bureau may not conduct or sponsor a collection of 
information as defined by the PRA and, notwithstanding any other 
provisions of law, persons are not required to respond to a collection 
of information unless it displays a current valid Office of Management 
and Budget (OMB) control number. The collections of information 
contained in this rule, and identified as such, have been approved by 
OMB and assigned the control number 3170-0040.

A. Information Collection Requirements

    EAJA provides for payment of fees and expenses to eligible parties 
who have prevailed against the Bureau in certain administrative 
proceedings. In order to obtain an award, the statute and associated 
regulations (12 CFR part 1071) require the filing of an application 
that shows that the party is a prevailing party and is eligible to 
receive an award under the Act. The Bureau regulations implementing the 
EAJA require applicants to submit certain information in their 
applications, as detailed in 12 CFR part 1071, subparts B, C. The 
Bureau estimates that as many as 3 applications may be filed annually 
with the Bureau and that it will take on average about 5 hours to 
complete and file an application for an award in accordance with the 
requirements of 12 CFR part 1071, subparts B, C, for a total estimated 
annual burden of 15 hours.

B. Comments

    The Bureau published a 60-day Federal Register notice on August 23, 
2013 (78 FR 52513). Comments were solicited on: (a) Whether the 
collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of 
the functions of the Bureau, including whether the information shall 
have practical utility; (b) The accuracy of the Bureau's estimate of 
the burden of the collection of information, including the validity of 
the methods and the assumptions used; (c) Ways to enhance the quality, 
utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) Ways 
to minimize the burden of the collection of information

[[Page 7570]]

on respondents, including through the use of automated collection 
techniques or other forms of information technology. The Bureau 
received no comments in response to this notice. The Bureau has a 
continuing interest in the public's opinions of its collections of 
information. At any time, comments regarding the burden estimate, or 
any other aspect of this collection of information, including 
suggestions for reducing the burden, may be sent to the Bureau at the 
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (Attention: PRA Office), 1700 G 
Street NW., Washington, DC 20552, or by the Internet to CFPB_Public_PRA@cfpb.gov.

List of Subjects in 12 CFR Part 1071

    Administrative practice and procedure, Banks, Banking, Consumer 
protection, Credit, Credit unions, Equal access to justice, Law 
enforcement, National banks, Savings associations.

Authority and Issuance

    Accordingly, for the reasons set forth above, under the authority 
of 5 U.S.C. 504, the interim final rule establishing 12 CFR part 1071 
published at 77 FR 39117, June 29, 2012, is adopted as a final rule 
without change.

Richard Cordray,
Director, Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection.
[FR Doc. 2014-02115 Filed 2-7-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4810-AM-P