Judge Grants Motion for Defense in FDCPA Case Over Letter Sent to Grandma’s House

How can a plaintiff file a lawsuit against a debt collector claiming she never received the disclosures that are required in an initial communication even though she has to concede she received the initial communication because how else could she claim the letter did not include the required disclosures? Turns out that she can’t, which is why a District Court judge in New York has granted a defendant’s motion for judgment on the pleadings.

A copy of the ruling in the case of Saoulis v. Credit Control Services can be accessed by clicking here.

The plaintiff originally filed suit claiming the collector violated the third-party disclosure requirements of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act because the defendant sent the letter to an address at which she did not live. The defendant moved for judgment on the pleadings, arguing that the letter — which was addressed to the plaintiff by name — was not a communication with a third party. In opposing the defendant’s motion, the plaintiff changed her argument, instead saying that “by sending the letter to an address that Defendant knew or should have known was an address at which Plaintiff did not reside or receive mail, that it failed to provide her the notice of rights required” under Section 1692g(a).

The defendant argued that nothing in Section 1692g(a) “speaks to the debt collector’s knowledge nor implies that a debt collector’s mental state could negate satisfaction of that statute’s requirements.”

That the plaintiff ended up receiving the letter — the letter was sent to an address for a house owned by the plaintiff’s grandmother, which the plaintiff used to live at — negates her argument that the letter did not include the required disclosures.

“As far as the proposed amended complaint is concerned, defendant sent only one letter to an address with which plaintiff had historically been associated,” wrote Judge Brian Cogan of the District Court for the Eastern District of New York. “Moreover, even if plaintiff no longer resided with her grandmother, residence is not the standard under § 1692c(a)(1), convenience is, about which the complaint is silent.”

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