Judge Grants MTD in FDCPA Case Over Notice Sent to Represented Plaintiff

Given a second chance to do more than just allege that a collection agency should have known that he was represented by an attorney, a plaintiff’s amended complaint has fallen just as short as the original one, and a District Court judge in New York has granted the defendant’s motion to dismiss, ruling that there is nothing in the complaint that indicates how the agency should have known the plaintiff was represented by an attorney.

A copy of the ruling in the case of Raymond v. Arcadia Recovery Bureau can be accessed by clicking here.

The plaintiff incurred a medical debt and received an invoice from the healthcare provider for the unpaid balance. The plaintiff, convinced that his health insurance should have paid the balance, asked his attorneys to send the provider a letter disputing the debt and asking not to be contacted directly. A few months later, the debt was placed with the defendant for collection, but the information about the plaintiff being represented was apparently left out.

The defendant sent a letter to the plaintiff, seeking to recover the unpaid balance. The plaintiff filed suit, alleging the defendant violated Section 1692c(a)(2) of the FDCPA by communicating with a consumer in connection with collection of a debt when it knew the consumer was represented by an attorney and Section 1692e by using false, deceptive, or misleading representations.

The defendant was able to get the original complaint dismissed because the judge agreed that the plaintiff pleaded insufficient facts from which she could infer that the defendant had knowledge of the plaintiff’s representation. But Judge Ronnie Abrams of the District Court for the Southern District of New York gave the plaintiff an opportunity to amend his complaint.

But the amended complaint didn’t do what was needed, either. Where the first complaint alleged “Weill Cornell informed Arcadia that plaintiff was represented by counsel,” the second one was changed to say “Weill Cornell did inform Arcadia that plaintiff was represented by counsel.” Similarly, the first complaint alleged “Arcadia knew that plaintiff was represented by counsel and should not be contacted directly,” and was updated in the second complaint to read “Arcadia knew from information gained from Weill Cornell that Plaintiff was represented by counsel and should not be contacted directly.”

“Beyond including this new language, however, the SAC contains no new facts to support an inference that Arcadia gained any information from Weill Cornell that would suggest that it knew of Plaintiff’s representation,” Judge Abrams wrote in granting the motion to dismiss.

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