Five groups have filed amicus briefs with the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals in support of the defendant-appellee in Hunstein v. Preferred Management & Collection Services, each laying out their arguments why the Court should rule that the plaintiff-appellant does not have standing to sue in a Fair Debt Collection Practices Act case that alleges using a vendor to print and mail collection letters constitutes a communication under the statute.
The entire Eleventh Circuit is scheduled to hear arguments in the case on February 22. Due to its wide-reaching ramifications, Hunstein has become the most closely watched case in the accounts receivable management industry in years, and the entire industry is hoping that the Court will rule that using a letter vendor is not a communication under the FDCPA.
Briefs were filed by:
- The Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America and the Retail Litigation Center
- The Mortgage Bankers Association, American Bankers Association, American Financial Services Association, Consumer Bankers Association, Credit Union National Association, and Housing Policy Council
- RMA International
- Nineteen state Creditors Bar Associations
- Third Party Payment Processors Association
Each of the groups that filed amicus briefs for the en banc rehearing also submitted amicus briefs when the defendant-appellee submitted its original petition for the Eleventh Circuit to rehear the case after issuing its initial ruling last April. Interestingly enough, the Chamber of Commerce split off from the financial services trade groups this time around after working with them on their initial amicus filing.
Similar to the initial round of amicus briefs, the groups each tackle different arguments that address the Eleventh Circuit’s key question — whether the plaintiff-appellant suffered a concrete injury and therefore has standing to pursue his lawsuit in federal court.
“The storm cloud caused by the faulty reasoning of the now vacated decision, if not undone, will deter debt collectors from employing competent service providers that benefit consumers, debt collectors and creditors alike,” RMA International writes in its brief.
Wrote the state Creditors Bar Associations in its brief, “… both Congress and the FTC have made clear that the purpose behind Section 1692c(b) was to prevent debt collectors from shaming consumers into paying their debts by publicizing their personal and financial information — not to restrict debt collectors from utilizing business vendors and technological tools to provide services to their clients. And to be sure, neither Congress nor the FTC intended to restrict attorneys from fulfilling their ethical obligations to their clients by making the highest and best use of business support services that improve their representation and keep litigation costs in check.”