The Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has affirmed a lower court’s summary judgment ruling in favor of a defendant that was accused of violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act by doubling the amount of the debt that was owed in a collection letter because the letter was not the initial communication between the two parties.
A copy of the ruling in the case of Isaac v. NRA Group, d/b/a National Recovery Agency, Inc., can be accessed by clicking here.
A letter that was sent in September 2015 to the plaintiffs doubled the amount that was owed because of a clerical error made by the original creditor. But because the letter was not the initial communication — another letter had been sent to the plaintiffs a month earlier — a judge ruled the error did not violate the FDCPA and granted summary judgment in favor of the defendant.
The plaintiffs appealed the decision, arguing that the District Court “misapplied the strict liability requisites” of the FDCPA because it ruled that even if the September letter were the initial communication, the incorrect amount would not have constituted a violation of the FDCPA.
The Appeals Court affirmed the lower court’s ruling, saying that the plaintiff failed to produce any evidence that disproved the August letters were sent, and failed to raise a “genuine factual dispute” that the August letters were the initial communications sent by the defendant to the plaintiffs.
In the District Court case, the judge noted that of the 12,500 individuals who received letters where the amount owed was twice as high as it should have been, not one of them overpaid the amount.