Plaintiff’s Attorney Defends Judges in N.J. Accused of Bias Against Debt Collectors

A plaintiff’s lawyer has come out and defended judges in New Jersey, saying they are not biased against debt collectors, after a collection attorney published a scathing attack last week.

Andrew Milz, a partner in the law firm of Flitter Milz, said he was “compelled” to respond to the “reckless accusations” made by Michael Harrison about judges in New Jersey.

“It is clear that Harrison is frustrated by consumers (acting as “private attorneys general”) holding his firm accountable for misdeeds in the federal courts,” Milz writes. “But frustration is no excuse for lashing out at judges who correctly apply this important consumer protection law. Harrison’s complaint has nothing to do with “bias” and everything to do with a debt collector’s choice to ignore the very law that governs his chosen area of practice.”

Milz breaks down Harrison’s arguments in a pair of lawsuits against Harrison’s firm and cites two cases in which Milz successfully sued collection agencies and debt buyers on behalf of clients.

One of Harrison’s lawsuits involved a bar code that was visible through the window of a collection letter sent to an individual. The individual sued, alleging a violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, and won. Harrison took issue that the bar code was equivalent to disclosing financial information, and took the judge, Jose Linares, out to the woodshed in his article.

Milz points to a number of District Court decisions as well as a decision from the Third Circuit Court of Appeals — which he successfully argued — that deal with what happens when a collection agency includes additional information that is visible through the envelope’s window.

The plain statutory language is simple to understand and the directive of the courts is easy to abide—don’t put any markings on your collection envelopes.

Harrison omits mention of this decades-old statutory directive in his missive. He advances no explanation for his failure to abide this crystal-clear mandate. He doesn’t even argue that the law is wrong. Instead, Harrison inappropriately takes aim at the Chief Judge for simply applying a practical and useful law as written.



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