Judge Certifies Class in FDCPA Case, But Limits Participation To One Creditor Only

A District Court judge in Massachusetts has granted certification to a class of plaintiffs alleging a collection letter sent by a defendant violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, but restricted the number of participants to those plaintiffs who had the same original creditor.

A copy of the ruling in the case of Marti v. Schreiber/Cohen & David Rowand Howard can be accessed by clicking here.

The original plaintiff received a collection letter which, according to the plaintiff, failed to identify the entity to whom the debt was owed, in violation of the FDCPA. A copy of the letter was included in the ruling:

The suit sought to include a class of plaintiffs that met the following criteria:

  • (i) all persons with addresses in Massachusetts
  • (ii) to whom Defendants sent or caused to be sent an initial communication in the form of Exhibit A
  • (iii) in an attempt to collect an alleged obligation
  • (iv) which, as shown by the nature of the alleged obligation, Defendants’ records, or the records of the original creditors, was primarily for personal, family, or household purposes
  • (v) during the period one year prior to the date of the filing this action.

The defendant argued that more than half of the individuals that fell within the class definition would not be eligible to participate in the suit because their agreements with the original creditors included mandatory arbitration provisions or waivers prohibiting participation in class-action lawsuits. So the plaintiff offered to amend the class definition to limit participation to those who had an account that originated with Comenity Bank.

Judge Timothy Hillman of the District Court for the District of Massachusetts agreed with the plaintiffs and amended the class definition to limit participation to those who had accounts with Comenity Bank, and then proceeded to certify the class.

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