Anderson Bros. Ford v. Valencia
In Anderson Bros. Ford v. Valencia, 452 U.S. 205 , 21213, 217 (1981) , the Board published for comment an Official Staff Interpretation that was directly contrary to the view taken by three out of four courts of appeals. The Board said that while a technical reading of Regulation Z might support the three courts of appeals, it was the Boards opinion that the disclosure was not the type of thing meant to be required by Regulation Z (and was therefore not in fact required). Id. at 212.
The Court said that the Boards interpretation did not conclusively establish the meaning of the words used in TILA, but that absent some obvious repugnance to the statute, the Boards regulation implementing this legislation should be accepted by the courts, as should the Boards interpretation of its own regulation. Id. at 219.
The Court strongly implied that this was so even if the text of the provision at issue suggested a contrary result, saying:
Unaided by an administrative construction of the TILA and Regulation Z, a court could easily conclude, based on the language of the statute and of Regulation Z, that the interest in unearned insurance premiums acquired by the creditor in this case should be characterized as a security interest that must be disclosed. But, in light of the proposed official staff interpretation of Regulation Z and the legislative history of TILA and related statutes, it is evident that the Board disagrees. Id. at 222.
The Court noted that it has frequently relied on the principle that a thing may be within the letter of the statute and yet not within the statute, because not within its spirit, nor within the intention of its makers. Id. at 222 n.20.3 In Anderson Brothers v. Valencia, 452 U.S. 205, 101 S.Ct. 2266, 68 L.Ed.2d 783 (1981), the Supreme Court looked to staff interpretation in seeking to resolve the issue before it. Although a relevant Official Staff Interpretation had been published for comment in the Federal Register, the Board itself had not passed on that Interpretation, deciding to defer to the Supreme Court disposition of the case.
While noting that "we cannot agree that the staff's views expressed in the proposed ruling are wholly without significance," 101 S.Ct. at 2270, the Court nonetheless did not rest its holding on the Staff Interpretation, 101 S.Ct. at 2272, but instead resolved the case on the basis of the recent amendments to the Truth in Lending Act (TILA).