The district court consolidated the four cases and heard argument on the motions for preliminary injunction

The district court consolidated the four cases and heard argument on the motions for preliminary injunction

If, however, an out-of-state bank enters into an agreement with an in-state payday store that allows the independent payday store to have the predominate economic interest (by earning more than 50% of the revenue from a payday loan), the payday store, and not the out-of-state bank, is liable for damages under the Act. Although the Act does not empower Georgia to prosecute an out-of-state bank directly as a principal party to the agency agreement, the Act does prohibit the in-state agent, acting pursuant to an unlawful contract, from collecting the payday loans and declares that the payday loans procured by the in-state payday store are void ab initio. See Ga.Code Ann. § 16-17-3.

In addition, § 16-17-2(d) of the Act imposes penalties on payday stores that: (1) make payday loans directly in their own name; or (2) undertake to make prohibited secondary agreements between themselves and out-of-state banks, whereby the payday stores maintain the predominate economic interest from payday loans made in the bank’s name. 18 See id. § 16-17-2(d).

Thus, the Act has no application when out-of-state banks act for themselves or act through an in-state agent (even a payday-store agent) who is paid less then 50% of the revenue from a payday loan

Immediately after the Georgia Act was enacted on , the payday stores and out-of-state banks filed a total of four lawsuits against the Georgia Attorney General, the Georgia Secretary of State, or both of them, seeking temporary restraining orders and preliminary and permanent injunctions against enforcement of the Act, as well as declaratory judgments that the provisions of the Act that apply to them are preempted by federal law and are unconstitutional. Because the Act was scheduled to go into effect on , the district court entered a temporary restraining order prohibiting enforcement against the plaintiffs until .

Two days before the scheduled expiration of the payday loans Elyria OH TRO, the district court denied the plaintiffs’ motions for a preliminary injunction and refused to enter an injunction pending appeal. 19 The district court found that the plaintiffs did not demonstrate a likelihood of success on the merits as to any of their claims. The district court also decided that the balance of harms favored Georgia and weighed against issuing an injunction, and that enjoining enforcement of the Act would harm the public interest. The district court did find that the plaintiffs would be irreparably harmed if the Act were enforced against them, and the parties do not dispute that finding. 20

The plaintiffs filed notices of appeal as well as motions asking this Court to issue an injunction pending appeal. We denied the motions for an injunction pending the appeal but did expedite the appeal. As things stand now, the Act has been in effect since , when the district court’s extended TRO expired.

S. 81, 100, 116 S

We generally review the district court’s denial of an injunction only for an abuse of discretion. See Delta Air Lines, Inc. v. Air Line Pilots Ass’n, Int’l, 238 F.3d 1300, 1308 (11th Cir. 2001). However, determinations of law made in the course of denying a preliminary injunction are reviewed de novo. Bailey v. Gulf Coast Transp., Inc., 280 F.3d 1333, 1335 (11th Cir. 2002). “`A district court by definition abuses its discretion when it makes an error of law.'” United States v. Pruitt, 174 F.3d 1215, 1219 (11th Cir. 1999) (quoting Koon v. United States, 518 U. Ct. 2035, 2047, 135 L. Ed. 2d 392 (1996)). As to findings of fact made in the course of denying a preliminary injunction, “the trial court is in a far better position than this Court to evaluate [the] evidence, and we will not disturb its factual findings unless they are clearly erroneous.” Cumulus Media, Inc. v. Clear Channel Communications, Inc., 304 F.3d 1167, 1171 (11th Cir. 2002) (internal citations omitted).

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