On Sunday, January 26th, a decision was issued in the latest round of legal motions between the CFP Board and the plaintiffs Jeffrey and Kimberly Camarda regarding their looming public disciplinary action from the CFP Board for what it claims were violations of the compensation disclosure rules.
In a blow to the CFP Board, the judge fully accepted an amended complaint from the Camardas, which is now seeking monetary damages in addition to “just” blocking the CFP Board’s public disciplining of the Camardas. In addition, the judge denied all of the CFP Board’s various motions to limit the scope of the case, including requests to quash subpoenas of various individuals for deposition. As a result, the breadth of discovery for the Camardas will be fairly wide, as they attempt to substantiate their claims that the CFP Board is in breach of contract, engaging in unfair competition, has violated due process, and may even be responsible for antitrust violations and having engaged in “false advertising” by misleading the public about its standards.
Of course, the fact that the judge has ruled that the full scope of the Camarda complaint will be considered and that the full breadth of their discovery requests will be honored does not actually mean that the CFP Board has been found guilty of anything at this point. Nonetheless, given the coming depositions that must now move forward, and the information requested by the Camardas on various other CFP Board disciplinary cases, a whole lot of additional detail about the inner workings of the CFP Board is about to come to light. To say the least, this case is no longer “just” about the definition of fee-only; it’s now about the legitimacy of the organization’s enforcement process and the standards for all CFP certificants, and raises the question of whether the CFP Board may have made a serious strategic mistake by trying to make Camarda vs CFP Board of Standards its defining case.