STEVEN A. CALDERONE, Plaintiff-Appellant,
SONIC HOUSTON JLR, L.P., Defendant-Appellee.
from the United States District Court for the Southern
District of Texas
SMITH, BARKSDALE, and HIGGINSON, Circuit Judges.
E. SMITH, Circuit Judge:
Calderone, a former employee of Sonic Houston JLR, L.P.
("Sonic"), claims he was unlawfully terminated
under the Consumer Financial Protection Act
("CFPA") for reporting racial discrimination in the
extension of credit. Calderone appeals an adverse summary
judgment. We affirm.
a car dealership, employed Calderone as a salesman. Calderone
alleges that Sonic refused to extend financing or sell cars
to customers who were members of racial minorities. Calderone
reported the discrimination to supervisors, managers, and
eventually the human resources department and was allegedly
terminated for those actions.
brought several claims against Sonic, only one of which, the
CFPA claim, is the subject of this appeal. The CFPA, part of
the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection
Act, prohibits "covered per-son[s]" and
"service provider[s]" from terminating or
discriminating against any "covered employee" who
provides information regarding a violation of federal law
subject to the jurisdiction of the Consumer Financial
Protection Bureau ("CFPB" or "the
Bureau"). 12 U.S.C. § 5567(a).
actions, if covered, allegedly would violate a section of the
Equal Credit Opportunity Act ("ECOA"), 15 U.S.C.
§ 1691 et seq., which prohibits
creditors from discriminating against "any
applicant, with respect to any aspect of a credit
transaction-on the basis of race, color, religion, national
origin, sex or marital status, or age (provided the applicant
has the capacity to contract), " id. §
1691(a)(1). The ECOA is a statute within generally the
jurisdiction of the Bureau. 12 U.S.C. § 5481(12)(D).
district court granted summary judgment to Sonic, holding
that, as an automobile dealer, Sonic is excluded from the
CFPB's jurisdiction by 12 U.S.C. § 5519(a). Sonic
provided an affidavit from its financial director stating
that it is "predominantly engaged in the sale, leasing,
and servicing of motor vehicles. The dealership helps
customers obtain retail credit or retail leases from
third-party lenders. However, the dealership does not approve
(or deny) financing or provide financing or leases directly
agree that Sonic fits under the § 5519(a) automobile
dealer exclusion. This does not ultimately end the inquiry,
however, as Calderone points out on appeal. But because
§ 5481(12) extends the dealer exclusion to the laws
subject to the jurisdiction of the Bureau, we affirm.
anti-retaliatory termination provision on which Calderone
sues reads as follows:
No covered person or service provider shall
terminate or in any other way discriminate against, or
cause to be terminated or discriminated against, any
covered employee or any authorized representative of
covered employees by reason of the fact that such
employee or representative, whether at the initiative of
the employee or in the ordinary course of the duties of the
employee (or any person acting pursuant to a request of the
employee), has-provided, caused to be provided, or
is about to provide or cause to be provided, information
to the employer, the Bureau, or any other State, local,
or Federal, government authority or law enforcement agency
relating to any violation of, or any act or omission that
the employee reasonably believes to be a violation of, any
provision of this title or any other provision of law that is
subject to the jurisdiction of the Bureau, or any rule,
order, standard, or prohibition prescribed by the Bureau . .
12 U.S.C. § 5567(a)(1) (emphasis added). To determine
whether Sonic unlawfully terminated Calderone, then, we must
ask which provisions of law are subject to the jurisdiction
of the Bureau. Those are found at 12 U.S.C. § 5481(12),
which reads, "Except as otherwise specifically provided
in section 5519 of this title, subtitle G or subtitle H, the