WDNY Judge Dismisses Class Claims in FDCPA Suit Over Chain of Title Issues

In a case that was defended by Jonathan Robbin of J. Robbin Law, a District Court judge in New York has dismissed class-action claims filed in a Fair Debt Collection Practices Act case and compelled arbitration on an individual basis after a plaintiff accused the defendant of filing a collection suit against him without having a proper chain of title.

A copy of the ruling in the case of Fontaine v. Resurgent Capital Services can be accessed by clicking here.

The plaintiff defaulted on a credit card debt that was sold to LVNV Funding, an affiliate of the defendant. LVNV filed a collection suit against the plaintiff, seeking to recover the unpaid balance. LVNV alleged that the account had been transferred three times before ending up in LVNV’s possession. The plaintiff claimed that the chain of title did not reflect these transfers and that he received no notice of any of the claimed assignments.

The original cardholder agreement included an arbitration clause that included the original creditor as well as its affiliates and agents. But the plaintiff disputes that the original creditor’s rights under the cardholder agreement were validly assigned to LVNV.

In claiming it is the proper owner of the debt, the defendant produced documentation, including a bill of sale, a letter that was sent to the plaintiff advising him that his account had been transferred, a declaration from the purchaser of the account that the plaintiff’s account was one that it purchased, as well as another declaration about the transfer of the account from one of the defendant’s companies to another.

Judge Elizabeth Wolford of the District Court for the Western District of New York agreed with the defendant that it produced “ample” evidence demonstrating that LVNV was the valid assignee and that the plaintiff had failed to produce any evidence to the contrary, relying on his own allegations to make his case.

Given that the arbitration provision included a class action waiver, Judge Wolford dismissed the plaintiff’s class action claims and compelled arbitration.

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