Tag: debt collector

1
COVID-19: Emergency Regulations Do Not Pass Constitutional Muster
2
COVID-19: The Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office Issues Emergency Regulations Significantly Limiting Debt Collection in Massachusetts During Pandemic
3
What Is in a Name? The Third Circuit Holds That Debt Buyers Can Be Debt Collectors under the FDCPA
4
Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Holds Passive Debt Buyers Are Not Debt Collectors Under Massachusetts Law
5
Dismissing FDCPA Lawsuit, Sixth Circuit Calls Out Congress for Creating Statutory Remedies Where No Harm Has Occurred
6
Massachusetts Attorney General Issues Guidance on Debt Collection Regulations

COVID-19: Emergency Regulations Do Not Pass Constitutional Muster

Federal Judge Enjoins Enforcement of Massachusetts Attorney General’s Debt Collection Ban Under First Amendment

By Sean R. HigginsJohn ReVeal, and Hollee M. Boudreau

In response to the COVID-19 emergency, the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office (“AGO”) issued a set of emergency regulations [1] intended to broadly prohibit certain debt collection activities in Massachusetts, including prohibitions against initiating debt collection calls or lawsuits, during the pendency of the COVID-19 emergency. [2] On May 6, 2020, U.S. District Judge Richard Stearns enjoined the AGO’s enforcement of those regulations as an unconstitutional restraint on commercial free speech. The court found that the AGO’s broad prohibitions violated the constitutional rights of creditors and debt collectors in Massachusetts without providing any meaningful protections to consumers greater than those afforded by existing state and federal consumer protection laws. [3] Read More

COVID-19: The Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office Issues Emergency Regulations Significantly Limiting Debt Collection in Massachusetts During Pandemic

By Sean R. HigginsJohn ReVeal, and Hollee M. Boudreau

The rapid spread of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (“COVID-19”) has caused unprecedented disruptions to the U.S. economy, both at the state and national levels.

On March 10, 2020, the Governor of Massachusetts declared a State of Emergency, imposed stringent social distancing measures, and ordered all “non-essential” businesses to cease in-person operations.[1] While these measures were intended to mitigate the impact of COVID-19, they also have caused many Massachusetts residents to experience significant financial hardships.

Read More

What Is in a Name? The Third Circuit Holds That Debt Buyers Can Be Debt Collectors under the FDCPA

Authors: Gregory N. BlaseAndrew C. GlassRoger L. Smerage

“Debt buyers”—entities that purchase debt from original creditors or other downstream assignees—often view themselves as being different from “debt collectors”—entities that act to collect debts from obligors. But in Barbato v. Greystone Alliance, LLC, [1] the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit disagreed, holding that debt buyers can be debt collectors under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”). Specifically, the Third Circuit ruled that part of the FDCPA’s definition of “debt collector” encompasses debt buyers, regardless of whether they outsource collection activities to third parties.

Read More

Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Holds Passive Debt Buyers Are Not Debt Collectors Under Massachusetts Law

By: Sean R. Higgins and Matthew N. Lowe

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court recently held in Dorrian v. LVNV Funding, LLC,[1] that “passive debt buyers” are not “debt collectors” required to be licensed under the Massachusetts Fair Debt Collection Practices Act[2] (“MDCPA”).

Dorrian is a class action lawsuit filed by borrowers in default who alleged that defendant LVNV Funding, LLC (“LVNV”) was operating as a debt collector without being licensed under the MDCPA.[3]  Notably, the plaintiffs did not sue the third-party LVNV contracted with to handle all collection and servicing, which was licensed as a debt collector under the MDCPA.  The trial court certified the class and granted summary judgment in the borrowers’ favor on their claims that LVNV violated the MDCPA by operating as an unlicensed debt collector.[4]

Read More

Dismissing FDCPA Lawsuit, Sixth Circuit Calls Out Congress for Creating Statutory Remedies Where No Harm Has Occurred

By Andrew C. Glass, Gregory N. Blase, Roger L. Smerage, and David A. Mawhinney

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals recently ended a Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”) lawsuit because the plaintiffs could not show that the allegedly offending letter had caused them actual harm.  In Hagy v. Demers & Adams,[1] the Sixth Circuit held that the plaintiffs lacked standing to sue a law firm for its technical FDCPA violation, namely failing to identify itself as a debt collector in a letter to the plaintiffs.  Debt collectors will likely applaud the practical and sensible approach the Sixth Circuit applied in Hagy.  The decision is remarkable, however, for its constitutional rebuke of Congress.  Reminding the legislative branch that it lacks general police powers to create statutory remedies where no actual harm exists, the Sixth Circuit’s decision suggests — without specifically stating — that the statutory damage provision of the FDCPA may be unconstitutional. Read More

Massachusetts Attorney General Issues Guidance on Debt Collection Regulations

By: Nanci L. Weissgold , Sean P. Mahoney , Gregory N. Blase

On January 24, 2013, the Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General (“AG”) issued guidance to the industry interpreting its debt collection regulations (“Regulations”) that became effective March 2, 2012. The AG took this unusual step as it recognized that the Regulations raise unique compliance issues for servicers of consumer debt. The AG promulgated the Regulations pursuant to the rulemaking authority conferred by the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Act (“Chapter 93A”), “to establish standards, by defining unfair or deceptive acts or practices, for the collection of debts from persons within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.” 940 C.M.R. 7.01. Although there is no private right of action, a violation may, nevertheless, constitute “an unfair or deceptive act or practice under Chapter 93A.”

Read More

Copyright © 2019, K&L Gates LLP. All Rights Reserved.