A District Court judge in New Jersey has granted a defendant’s motion to dismiss four of the five counts it is facing in a Fair Debt Collection Practices Act suit after it was accused of disclosing information about the existence of the debt in question to a third party, namely a vendor that was used to print and mail collection letters that were sent to the plaintiff.
A copy of the ruling in the case of Nuamah-Williams v. Frontline Asset Strategies can be accessed by clicking here.
The defendant sent two collection letters to the plaintiff attempting to collect on an unpaid debt. About nine months after the second letter was sent the creditor filed a collection lawsuit to collect on the debt. The plaintiff filed a counterclaim, accusing the defendant of violating the FDCPA by having the defendant mail her the letters, which were printed and mailed by a third party and include her mailing address, account number, and total amount that was owed. That case was ultimately jointly dismissed, but about a month before that happened, the plaintiff filed this suit in federal court, accusing the defendant of violating several sections of the FDCPA when it used a third-party vendor to print and mail the collection letters that were sent. The plaintiff filed a five count complaint, alleging the defendant violated Section 1692c(b), the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act, and Sections 1692d and 1692f of the FDCPA.
Ultimately, Judge William D. Martini of the District Court for the District of New Jersey granted the defendant’s motion to dismiss the first four claims of the complaint, ruling that “sharing of Plaintiff’s information to a mail vendor does not constitute ‘publicizing’ as it was not communicated to the public at large nor is Plaintiffs private information substantially certain to become public knowledge.”
To further make his point, Judge Martini wrote that a “reasonable” person would not find it “offensive” for a debt collector to disclose information about a debt to a mail vendor for the purposes of mailing a collection letter.