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Judge Rules FDCPA Does Not Pre-Empt State Law Claims

A federal judge in Utah has ruled that a state law in Utah is not pre-empted by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, and denied a motion to dismiss a lawsuit against a collection agency filed by an individual.

The ruling, which was issued last week, was first reported by Buckley Sandler.

The plaintiff sued The Cherrington Firm for allegedly violating the FDCPA and the Utah Consumer Sales Protection Act (UCSPA) by collecting more than what was actually owed. The defendant moved to have the UCSPA claim dismissed because a more specific federal statute, the FDCPA, is already in force. A judge in the District Court for the District of Utah denied the motion.

Judge Jill Parrish ruled that the claim under the USCPA would only be barred if there was another more specific state law that regulated the matter in this particular case, namely debt collection.

In a footnote, Judge Parrish noted that the defendant ignored a number of cases from the same court which have allowed plaintiffs to sue under both the UCSPA and the FDCPA. Judge Parrish also noted that the FDCPA includes language which says that the law “does not annul, alter, or affect, or exempt any person subject to the provisions of this subchapter from complying with the laws of any State with respect to debt collection practices, except to the extent those laws are inconsistent with any provision of this subchapter, and then only to the extent of the inconsistency.”




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