Judge Denies Plaintiff’s MSJ, Orders Show Cause Why Defense Should Not Be Granted Summary Judgment in FDCPA Window Case

We haven’t seen one of these in a while, but a District Court judge in New Jersey has denied a plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment and given the plaintiff until next week to show cause why summary judgment should not be granted for the defendant after it was accused of violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act by allowing the plaintiff’s account number to show through the glassine window of an envelope containing a collection letter.

A copy of the ruling in the case of Estate of Wilfred Clements v. Apex Asset Management, LLC can be accessed by clicking here.

The defendant mailed a collection letter to the plaintiff in May of 2017. The plaintiff claims that a five-digit number and a 23-digit number were visible through the window of the envelope. The 23-digit number contained the plaintiff’s account number. However, the plaintiff did not provide a copy of the letter with its complaint. Conceding that the five-digit number was visible through the envelope, the defendant said that the letter would have had to move nearly half-an-inch for the 23-digit number to be visible, when there was less than one-quarter of an inch of space for the letter to move once it was folded and placed in the envelope. Te five-digit number was a reference code used by the company that printed and mailed the letter and contained no identifying information relative to the plaintiff.

“The Court acknowledges that Defendant provided ample evidence of its typical mailing practices and procedures to demonstrate to a reasonable fact finder that the account number was not visible,” wrote Judge Jerome Simandle of the District Court for the District of New Jersey, in his ruling. “This suffices to defeat Plaintiff’s summary judgment motion concerning the twenty-three-digit number.”

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  1. Do we know if the Plaintiff was ordered to cover the cost of the defendants attorneys fees?

  2. Do we know if the courts ordered the plaintiff to cover the defendants costs to defend?

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