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Appeals Court Affirms Dismissal of Second Avila Suit

The Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has affirmed a lower court’s dismissal of a lawsuit filed by an individual with a name that many in the credit and collection industry will immediately recognize: Avila.

A copy of the ruling in the case of Avila v. Reliant Capital Solutions, LLC can be accessed by clicking here.

The plaintiff sued the defendant, alleging it violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act when it sent her a letter that stated she might be liable for any “late charges and other charges” on her unpaid debt, even though no such charges were possible.

A similar case, Avila v. Riexinger & Associates, resulted in the creation of safe harbor language that debt collectors could use in letters that satisfies the collector’s requirement to state the amount of the debt even when the amount changes day to day. A case in the Seventh Circuit — Boucher v. Financial Systems of Green Bay, Inc. — however, ruled that using the safe harbor language does not cover a collector if it “falsely suggests an outcome that cannot come to pass.”

But during oral arguments, Avila’s lawyers conceded that were her debt to be reinstated from default status, additional charges could be applied.

“This case is therefore unlike Boucher, where the defendant conceded that late charges and other charges were impossible,” the Second Circuit wrote. “Because Reliant’s letter was not inaccurate in stating that ‘late charges and other charges’ were possible, we affirm the District Court’s dismissal of Avila’s complaint.”

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