The defendant in the Hunstein case has filed a motion with the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals seeking an extension to file its petition for an en banc rehearing and asked the Court to withhold issuing a mandate in the case as part of its attempt to overturn the ruling.
A copy of the motion in the case of Hunstein v. Preferred Collection & Management Services can be accessed by clicking here.
The panel of three judges in the case last month issued a new ruling, taking the initiative to do so following a petition for an en banc rehearing and the filing of 16 amicus briefs in support of the defendant’s position, while also taking into consideration the Supreme Court’s ruling in TransUnion v. Ramirez. Despite the briefs and the Supreme Court’s ruling, two of the three judges still reached the conclusion that using a vendor to print and mail collection letters constitutes a communication under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
The defendant has confirmed its intention to file another petition for an en banc rehearing. Once the new petition for an en banc rehearing is filed, interested parties will again have the opportunity to file amicus briefs in support of either side. Once all the briefs are filed, all 12 of the judges sitting on the Eleventh Circuit will be polled and asked if they think the case should be reheard. As long as one judge says yes to that question, then the entire panel of 12 judges votes on whether the petition for rehearing should be granted. If a majority of the 12 vote for the rehearing, then the new ruling is vacated and a new hearing will be held to determine the Court’s final decision in the case.
Given the timing of the original deadlines, which fall around the Thanksgiving holiday, and the complexities of the case, the defendant asked for the extension.
The issuance of a mandate is a procedural step that essentially closes the case. This ensures that the opinion issued by the Eleventh Circuit back in April does not become final and the case remains open pending the result of the en banc petition. It is not, however, a step that can be viewed as being either positive or negative for the chances of the rehearing petition being granted; it is merely a procedural act undertaken by the Court.