Common Sense Prevails! Seventh Circuit Affirms Consumer was not Harmed by Letter and Dismisses FDCPA case

Debt collectors defending against hyper-technical FDCPA lawsuits by consumer attorneys commonly ask the same question: “How could the consumer possibly have been harmed by this supposed violation of the FDCPA?”  The question is especially poignant when the purported FDCPA violation arises from a collection letter the consumer never read or from language in the collection letter upon which the consumer never intended to rely.  Does the concept of “no harm, no foul” apply to the FDCPA?

In this episode of the Debt Collection Drill podcast, Moss & Barnett attorneys John Rossman and Mike Poncin discuss the recent ruling by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in the Casillas matter dismissing an alleged hyper-technical FDCPA letter violation.  They also discuss the recent ruling by the Second Circuit Court of Appeal regarding interest and share thoughts on the CFPB’s proposed debt collection rules.  

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Validation Notice Lawsuits: Overlooked Ruling from Third Circuit Proves Debt Collectors are Right!

As most debt collectors know, sending any collection notice into Delaware, New Jersey or Pennsylvania (the States with Federal Courts in the Third Circuit) will likely result in an FDCPA class action lawsuit against the debt collector.  Typically these lawsuits assert that the validation language used in the collection letter does not require the consumer to communicate disputes in writing only allegedly in violation of the FDCPA.  While several appeals on this issue are pending and consolidated before the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, a decision from the Third Circuit in 2017 may provide guidance on how it will rule in favor of the debt collectors.    

In the most recent episode of the Debt Collection Drill podcast, Moss & Barnett attorneys John Rossman and Mike Poncin are joined by their colleague, attorney Aylix Jensen, to discuss the Third Circuit validation issues, including the Jewsevskyj case, compliance with the new California privacy law (the CCPA) and credit reporting accounts in bankruptcy (see recent article on this issue http://www.insidearm.com/news/00044941-credit-reporting-debts-bankruptcy-deluge-/)

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Should Collectors Change the Validation Notices into PA

Debt collectors face an historic onslaught of FDCPA cases in Pennsylvania (and to a lesser extent New Jersey), all of which allege that statutory language in collection letters which tracks the FDCPA somehow violates the law.  The Courts in these cases take the position that a consumer must be apprised that a dispute must be in writing to be effective, even though this position is contrary to the plain language of the FDCPA and rulings by the Second, Fourth and Ninth Circuit Courts of Appeal.  This issue has been addressed extensively in InsideARM:

http://www.insidearm.com/news/00044725-22m-settlement-proposed-fcra-case-pulling/

http://www.insidearm.com/news/00044669-open-letter-cfpb-1692g-issues-within-thir/

In this episode of the Debt Collection Drill podcast, attorneys John Rossman and Mike Poncin directly address whether debt collectors should change notices sent into Pennsylvania and also discuss the impact of the settlement in the Crunch v. Marks decision along with the recent California out-of-statute disclosure.

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Federal Courts Hold that Standard Validation Notice Violates FDCPA. Now What?!

Collectors frequently point to contradictory language among the FDCPA and other statutes as proof that standardized debt collection rules are needed in this industry.  However, even in an industry where consumer attorneys frequently make “creative” arguments, it is rare to see a claim that the FDCPA itself contains contradictory language. In a number of recent cases, consumer attorneys are arguing that the validation language from the statute – the same language collectors have been using since the FDCPA was enacted in 1977 — is now somehow unclear and confusing.   Specifically, consumer attorneys argue that the first sentence of the validation notice (relating to disputes), which does not contain an “in writing” requirement, contradicts the second sentence of the notice, which does require a written request from the consumer to receive verification.  Unfortunately, two Courts in New Jersey within the past year sided with the consumers in denying debt collectors’ motions to dismiss on this issue.  Two more cases on the issue – on which the debt collectors prevailed – are pending before the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.

In this episode of the Debt Collection Drill podcast, Moss & Barnett attorneys John Rossman and Mike Poncin examine the recent cases alleging that the standard validation language violates the FDCPA and provide guidance for debt collectors seeking to avoid liability on this issue.

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New Federal Court of Appeals Rulings Favor Debt Collectors

Debt collectors were given clarity regarding two thorny FDCPA issues recently by decisions issued from the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.  In the case of Portalatin v. Blatt, the Court held that a consumer was entitled to a single recovery of an FDCPA statutory penalty rather than multiple recoveries for the same alleged violation from each Defendant.  This issue of Plaintiffs seeking to “stack” recoveries for the same alleged violations from multiple Defendant is now finally resolved in favor of the debt industry.  The Seventh Circuit also held in Dunbar v. Kohn that that sentence “This settlement may have tax consequences.” did not violate the FDCPA, thus joining the numerous other Court that held this language complies with the law.

In the latest episode of the Debt Collection Drill podcast, Moss & Barnett attorneys John Rossman and Mike Poncin discuss the Portalatin and Dunbar decisions in addition to strategies for debt collectors to avoid FDCPA on debt collection communications regarding interest and out-of-statute disclosures.  Links to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals rulings in Portalatin and Dunbar can be found below.

http://media.ca7.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/rssExec.pl?Submit=Display&Path=Y2018/D08-13/C:16-1578:J:Manion:aut:T:fnOp:N:2201521:S:0

http://media.ca7.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/rssExec.pl?Submit=Display&Path=Y2018/D07-19/C:17-2134:J:Sykes:aut:T:fnOp:N:2189247:S:0

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