A District Court judge in New York has granted summary judgment in favor of a collector that was sued for allegedly violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act because when it named the creditor in a collection letter, it failed to indicate that it was the current creditor.
A copy of the ruling in Taubenfliegel v. Miller & Milone, P.C., can be accessed by clicking here.
The plaintiff received a collection letter that said:
RE: NEW YORK-PRESBYTERIAN/BROOKLYN METHODIST [redacted account number]
This office represents NEW YORK-PRESBYTERIAN/BROOKLYN METHODIST (FORMERLY KNOWN AS THE NEW YORK METHODIST HOSPITAL) in connection with your outstanding bill. Please provide us with any insurance or other payment information that may assist us in resolving this matter.
The letter also included the individual’s account number for the hospital among other data points.
The plaintiff filed a lawsuit, claiming the letter violated Sections 1692e(10) and 1692g(a)(2) of the FDCPA. Section 1692g(a)(2) requires that collection letters include “the name of the creditor to whom the debt is owed.”
In applying the least sophisticated consumer standard, Judge Edward Korman of the District Court for the Eastern District of New York, deemed that “no reasonable jury” would conclude that the defendant violated the FDCPA by how it worded the letter.
Here, the collection letter explains that defendant represents the hospital creditor “in connection with [plaintiff’s] outstanding bill,” and lists a patient name, hospital account number, date of service, and amount due. Collection Letter, These details, read together with the rest of the letter, compel the conclusion that defendant was collecting a debt on behalf of the creditor hospital.