NCLC Publishes Guide to Key FDCPA Rulings From 2021

The National Consumer Law Center has published a guide of the key legal rulings related to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act that were issued in 2021, breaking down rulings according to different categories and providing a summary of the case law that was enacted last year.

Last year was a “very active” one for the FDCPA, noted the guide, referencing the Supreme Court’s ruling in TransUnion v. Ramirez and the impact it has had on standing cases, the enactment of Regulation F, and nearly two dozen “important” decisions that were made by appellate courts across the country.

Interestingly enough, the guide does not mention the ruling in Hunstein v. Preferred Medical & Collection Services anywhere, but perhaps that was done because the Eleventh Circuit’s initial ruling was ultimately vacated and will be re-issued following the en banc hearing scheduled for next month.

The guide breaks down cases at the appellate level addressing topics like standing, how terms like “debt” and “communication” are defined, collecting time-barred debt and medical debt, and the application of the bona fide error defense, to name just a few.

Along with the list, the guide includes a straightforward and succinct summary of each case and details about what makes it noteworthy. For example, in summarizing the ruling in Markakos v. Medicredit, the guide says:

Consumer sued collector for violations of § 1692g(a) after collector sent consumer a letter seeking to collect $1,830.56, consumer disputed the debt, and collector subsequently claimed that $407 was owed. The Seventh Circuit affirmed dismissal of consumer’s claim for lack of standing. The court found that she failed to satisfy the injury-in-fact prong of standing because the consumer did not allege harm where she did not pay but instead disputed the debt, rejecting consumer’s argument that there was an informational injury. Two judges wrote separate concurrences, agreeing that the decision was correct under Seventh Circuit precedent but questioning whether those precedents went too far.

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