The FTC, CFPB, and Military Organizations Support Plaintiffs vs Bluegreen Vacations – A MLA Lawsuit

What is an Amici Curiae? 

According to Cornell Law: Amicus Curiae literally translated from Latin is “friend of the court.” Plural is “amici curiae.” 

Generally, it is referencing a person or group who is not a party to an action but has a strong interest in the matter. This person or group will petition the court for permission to submit a brief in the action intending to influence the court’s decision. Such briefs are called “amicus briefs.”

Two Amicus Briefs, the first filed by the Federal Trade Commission and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and the second filed by supporting military organizations, support plaintiffs Tamarah and Emmanuel Louis, and others, alleging Bluegreen Vacation violated the Military Lending Act. Case No 21-CV-61938-RAR

A lawsuit was filed against Bluegreen Vacations in the UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT, SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF FLORIDA, FORT LAUDERDALE DIVISION in September of 2021. At issue is an alleged failure to comply with MLA requirements requiring that the lender discloses to the “covered borrower” the Military Annual Percentage Rate (MAPR). The MAPR would have included Bluegreen’s $450 administrative fee, and any other fees or ancillary products that would have resulted in a higher interest rate than the standard APR. Of greater weight, mandatory arbitration is prohibited under the MLA.

Members of the military can find their security clearances in jeopardy due to a timeshare loan default, and possible involuntary separation from service. Arbitration, arguably, favours developers. We previously reported on an active duty service member who was sold 2,500 Diamond Resorts points, inadequate for a family of six. He lost in arbitration disputing a $12,000 purchase. The judgment against him was $66,000, of which he was ordered to pay over $50,000 of Diamond’s attorneys’ fees. When I last spoke with his wife, her husband was deployed.

Developers have argued that timeshare mortgages are exempt from MLA requirements because a timeshare stay is the same as a residential stay, and that a timeshare mortgage loan is the same as a home mortgage loan. Unlike a home mortgage, there is little hope of selling a timeshare with an outstanding mortgage. The homeowner controls their home, the Developer controls the timeshare.

On May 31, 2022, the Florida District Court ruled against Bluegreen plaintiffs Tamarah and Emmanuel Louis, arguing that “they had not suffered a sufficiently concrete injury to show Article III Standing.” In an extraordinary show of support, two Amicus Briefs were submitted supporting the reversal of the lower court’s decision. An appeal was filed after the adverse ruling on June 30, 2022.

As reported by Meghann Myers, Pentagon bureau chief, Military Times:

According to the lawsuit, Emmanuel and Tamarah Louis allege that they were sold an illegal financial product – a product that Congress determined poses such an acute risk to American service members, to their financial well-being, to their morale, to the military operational readiness, and to national defence, that it should be illegal to sell to members of our Armed Services.

Brief of Amici Curiae

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission in Support of Plaintiffs-Appellants and Reversal

As stated in the first Amicus Brief: Pursuant to Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 26(b) and Eleventh Circuit Rule 26.1, counsel for amici curiae the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission certify that the following additional persons and entities have an interest in the outcome of this appeal:

Bateman, Kristin, Acting Assistant General Counsel, CFPB
Bedoya, Alvaro, Commissioner, FTC
Bressler, Steven, Acting Deputy General Counsel, CFPB
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)
Cooper, Ryan, Senior Counsel, CFPB
Dasgupta, Anisha S., General Counsel, FTC
Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
Frotman, Seth, General Counsel, CFPB
Grossman, Bradley D., Attorney, FTC
Hussain, Laura, Former Assistant General Counsel, CFPB
Khan, Lina M., Chair, FTC
Marcus, Joel, Deputy General Counsel, FTC
Slaughter, Rebecca Kelly, Commissioner, FTC
Wilson, Christine S., Commissioner, FTC

In a strongly worded second Amicus Brief, the following organizations expressed an interest in ensuring that the Military Lending Act is not undermined or weakened in any way.

THE MILITARY OFFICERS ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA, (“MOAA”) is a professional association of United States military officers. With more than 350,000 members from every branch of service, MOAA is the nation’s largest and most influential association of military officers. It is an independent, nonprofit, politically nonpartisan organization.

THE JEWISH WAR VETERANS OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, organized in 1896 by Jewish veterans of the Civil War, is the oldest active national veterans’ service organization in America. Incorporated in 1924, and chartered by an act of Congress in 1983, see 36 U.S.C. § 110103, the organization’s statutory objectives include “encourage[ing] the doctrine of universal liberty, equal rights, and full justice to all,” id § 110103(5), and “preserving the spirit of comradeship by mutual helpfulness to comrades and their families,” id § 110103(7).

THE BLUE STAR FAMILIES, Inc. was founded in 2009 by military spouses to strengthen and empower military and Veteran families to thrive as they serve. With more than 230,000 members in its network, Blue Star Families has had a positive impact on more than 1.5 million military families.

JACKSONVILLE AREA LEGAL AID, Inc. (“JALA”) is a nonprofit law firm that provides free legal services to people who cannot otherwise afford representation. JALA serves an area with multiple military bases, and it frequently represents people in military lending cases that are referred to JALA by the U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General and others. JALA also has a Veterans Services Unit that assists hundreds of veterans a year.

THE UNITED STATES ARMY WARRANT OFFICERS ASSOCIATION is a veterans service organization that was incorporated as a nonprofit organization in 1974. It is devoted to the welfare of army warrant officers—serving, former, and retired—and their families.

THE NATIONAL MILITARY FAMILY ASSOCIATION is a nonprofit organization founded in 1969. It is a voice for military families representing all ranks and services. Through the support and programs it provides, and its respected voice on Capitol Hill and with the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs, it represents the best interests of families who serve.

THE FIVE STAR VETERANS CENTER is a nonprofit that honours the sacrifices of combat veterans by providing the services and support they need to succeed in civilian life. The organization has a specific focus on veterans aged 22 through 55 suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injuries, depression, anxiety and other related mental health issues. Indebtedness can exacerbate many of the hardships veterans face, including mental health issues and housing insecurity.


The District Court’s decision risks effectively repealing from the bench one of the Military Lending Act’s most critical provisions thereby undoing all of the progress made in the last 15 years.

In particular, if the district’s decision is not reversed, predatory lending companies will once again focus their marketing efforts and resources on active service members. That will result in a return to a time before the MLA when thousands upon thousands of Service members lose their Security Clearances or leave the military due to financial hardship stemming from predatory lending. (Pg. 17)

In the past, we have asked, “Where are the lawmakers?” Where are the Regulators? We are grateful the FTC and the CFPB have weighed in, along with other powerful voices to speak Truth to Power. With nothing less than our national security at stake, and with recruitment goals experiencing a shortfall. How can we allow any service member to lose their security clearance, or military career, due to a timeshare purchase gone bad – especially with recruitment experiencing a shortfall? According to the Amicus Brief, the U.S. Army fell short of its recruitment goal by 25%.

Related Articles

In another lawsuit filed against Bluegreen, Equifax and Experian, in 2014, Best and Snapp, et al. v. Bluegreen Corp., et al., case no. 9:14-cv-80929, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida, Bluegreen sent a series of letters advising plaintiffs that they were terminated from the Bluegreen Vacation Club and the status of their accounts may be reported as foreclosures to the credit agencies. As part of the settlement: For class members who did not opt-out of the settlement and no longer have an active account, Bluegreen will request that Equifax and Experian delete the entire account that displayed a foreclosure. This applied to 11,000 Bluegreen members. Bluegreen Vacation Club memberships did not include ownership in any real or tangible property, according to the plaintiffs’ attorneys.

The lawsuit alleging Bluegreen violated the MLA January 28, 2022

Westgate Arbitration and the Military Lending Act June 17, 2021

Oral Arguments Steines v Westgate Case 8:22-cv-00283-CEH-JSS Oct 19, 2022

Six Reports of Active Duty Service Members/Veterans with Security Clearances

Report 1: Active Duty Navy, Chief Petty Officer, 14 years

Report 2: Marine Veteran, 26 years served, security clearance

Report 3: Active Duty Navy, 12 years served

Report 4: Active Duty Navy, 18 years served

Report 5: Husband & Wife,  both Active Duty Air Force 10, 9 years

Report 6: Active Duty Air Force – Timeshare Renting Jeopardizing Security Clearances

It is clear from Irene’s’ report, this is a very important case and the protection of the military from the unscrupulous actions of the developers. Again it shows the contempt the industry has for the law in their pursuit of profit, yet they are willing to spend thousands in defending and fighting any attempt to curb their activities. The two Amicus Briefs filed in support of Tamarah and Emmanuel Louis, and others should send a message to the courts that they must also act, not just to protect consumers but to uphold a law that was designed to protect those who serve.

This case is all about words or “semantics“, which is a word that can mean so many things, unfortunately, that is what this lawsuit is all about, the different interpretations of what is written. In Europe, the timeshare industry continually claimed the Lower Courts and the Supreme Court had “misinterpreted” the timeshare laws, backed up by the European Trade Body the RDO. They believed the law did not include their resorts as they were in operation before the enactment of Law 42/98, which provided a “deed of adaptation”. In a nutshell, it allowed any contract purchased before the law was enacted, to continue and be legal and not covered by the new legislation, well, you can’t make something illegal that was sold before the law was in place, the law should never be retrospective.

That is all for this week, the weekend is now upon us and it is time for a bit of fun. Baby Dog had his Aunty come to “poochy” sit for a day and took his flirting to new heights. Have a great weekend and join us again next week.


  1. Benn Dover

    If banks and financial institutions won’t finance timeshare loans because they can not be secured by real estate how can a timeshare loan be treated the same as a home mortgage? There is no equity with timeshare and owners that have paid off their “mortgage” can not sell and are being denied deedback, which to me means it is not worth anything. There is NO value.

    1. Timeshare Insider

      This one question has been asked countless times, and no one can seem to provide an answer. My own view is that it is all a sanctioned deception.

  2. Diane Johnson

    My husband and I have owned timeshare, beginning with our first purchase in 1999 and slowly adding points until we owned 30,000 points. Overall we have been happy with our timeshare, traveling all over the country and treating family and friends. Recently we attended an owners update and purchased 10,000 more points. Sadly these points were purchased directly due to deceptive statements made to us. I have since learned that there have been numerous complaints against this sales agent using this same deceptive sales pitch. If we cannot get this resolved we may have to default on our timeshare, thus losing the thousands of dollars we have invested on our vacation timeshare since 1999.

  3. Sheilah

    Our Military service men and women whether active or non active have served or country for all of us. Now it is time our country and our government stand by them. When anyone goes into a timeshare meeting they are told it is only 90 minutes. Sales reps show you a beautiful resort and feed you a bunch of lies. At the time you do not realize they are lies, you are just thinking it would be so nice to vacation at a resort like you are shown. Later when you find out that the agent said whatever he could to make a sale after keeping you caught up in a dream for 4, 5, 6 or more hours the company says they are not responsible for what their agent say. They are NOT responsible?? They do not fire them because the company makes a lot of money off those lies. What has happened to this country and our government to let this continue.

    1. Joan

      I so agree and it is so far out of hand that there is nothing logical about it and it should not be allowed to happen in America. Yet it happens daily and many thousands of people are hurt. There is so much wrong with it all that it’s hard to know where to start. But, it starts with money dangling in front of people to go listen to a timeshares sales pitch. Throughout one’s ownership, sales pitches are basically lies in order to obtain money. They are very good at their con jobs. The timeshares have us to initial that we understand not to believe sales. Our contract has many things in it that are so wrong but we do not figure it out until it’s too late,. The negative things are NEVER spoken about. Then, it ends with the companies taking it back for free or, even worse, forcing people to pay thousands to get out of it. It’s all so wrong, so very wrong. They need thoroughly investigating and be made to change the contracts in favor of the purchaser instead of the timeshare screwing over people constantly. Agencies who have any authority need to thoroughly read the contracts and listen to the input of consumers.

  4. Larry Lobbyist

    Timeshare industry lobbyists raise $5 million a year, in mostly opt-out donations, from timeshare members, who know nothing about how the money is spent, to ensure silence on this subject. At least Marriott is opt-in allowing the chance to understand what the member is “donating” to. Donations started being deducted automatically after being fined by the Federal Election Committee for not calling the fee charged voluntary.

  5. BG Hunter

    Looking at the backgrounds of some of the leaders of those timeshare companies is all one must do to realize that doing the right thing is of no concern to them. No, all they are concerned with is doing what is lucrative for THEM. They, along with the aid of their sales personnel, actively engage in and orchestrated, intentional and purposeful deception of consumers and reap a large financial reward.

  6. Sherida Nett

    Standing together is what is going to make a difference. Thanks to all who have thrown their hat in the ring!

  7. Marl

    Thank you Irene and all lobbyist and advocates for standing tall before us. Slowly you now reaping your hardwork in winning this battle, There still long road ahead until the government were shaken and legislation will completely change in favor of consumer. Timeshare is getting worst and worst and so as people started to learn the truth. Im hopeful we will reach the end of the road. Thank you that our military and veteran victims who serves our country are now ahead of this journey. Stay safe.

    1. Irene Parker

      If only we can continue to speak Truth to Power by preventing the timeshare industry lobbyists from their efforts to keep lawmakers at bay. Anti-consumer lobbyists stopped one lawmaker’s proposed bill that would have allowed (offered) a 24 hour cooling-off before signing a timeshare contract. Sales agent tag teams demand the timeshare be purchased the same day, even if spending $100,000 or more, and the buyer is not allowed to have the contract reviewed. ARDA lobbyist Don Isaacson argued, “But the bottom line is that the state should not step in to protect people who didn’t bother to understand the nature of the deal. You are buying real estate, you are buying it as an adult.” In one week three attorneys contacted us – a state enforcement attorney, a consumer protection attorney, and a retired JAG officer, all reporting that they had been skillfully deceived by agents selling for the same timeshare company. A common complaint is being told you can rent to cover costs, which is highly unlikely. Reading the contract and the contract rescission period doesn’t help, if the contract states you can rent. This is often what gets active duty service members under water. If attorneys are being duped, what chance has the vulnerable? The proposed legislation passed three committees and the House 100% but was crushed in the Senate. A Senator responded to the lobbyist, “These people are adults. There was a meeting of the mind, they signed a contract, they should take responsibility.” In a newspaper article, it was reported this same Senator, as stated in a deposition, allowed people to take body shots of her while drinking alcohol from her naval, sexting and recruiting another female lobbyist for illicit purposes. Hypocrisy reigns.

  8. Kris khetan

    I own a deeded timeshare property at Vacation Village In The Berkshires. I have been regularly paying the maintenance fee for 15+ years but has hardly been able to use the week at other resorts using RCI because of lack of availability during school holiday season. I have been trying. to get rid of the timeshare for so many years but without any success. I do not think it is fair and there are no products in the US market that you cannot return if you have a valid concern. Then why not timeshare ? I think our congress and regulators need to come up with a legal way to help us get out of timeshare.


    1. Irene Parker

      Vacation Village owners have reported that Vacation Village will only allow an exit if there is documented medical or financial hardship that impedes travel. There is a fee. If not, they will tell you to find a buyer. There is a Facebook Group of Vacation Village owners held hostage with a product that cannot be easily sold or even given away. Resorts are breeding subsequent generations of kids that want nothing to do with timeshare. Not my kid. My resort in the Ozarks responded to me that after paying maintenance fees for 30 years, the board decided not to become hostage takers. The link to the VV Facebook is in this article:

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