Judge Grants MTD in FDCPA Case Over References to Attorney Review in Letter

A District Court judge in New York has granted a defendant’s motion to dismiss after it was sued for allegedly violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act because a collection letter included five references to an attorney potentially reviewing the account in question to pursue legal collection activities, which allegedly overshadowed the validation notice.

Case: Bangiyeva v. Financial Recovery Services
Case Number: 20-cv-6016
Court: District Court for the Eastern District of New York
Judge: Judge Lashann Dearcy Hall
Ruling: Click here

Background: The plaintiff received a collection letter from the defendant that included multiple references to the account being reviewed for legal collection if the plaintiff did not make contact with the defendant.

  • “We have a limited amount of time before the above-referenced account is recalled from us by the current creditor and reviewed by the current creditor for placement with a law firm. If we cannot resolve this account, it will be returned to the current creditor and reviewed to determine whether or not placement with a law firm licensed in your jurisdiction is appropriate. Such return to the current creditor and review will not occur until after the time period set forth in the paragraph immediately below.”

Claim: The plaintiff claimed the letter violated Sections 1692d, 1692e, 1692f, and 1692g of the FDCPA.

Ruling: While pointing out the five different spots where the letter references the potential that an attorney may be called in to review the details of the account, the plaintiff ultimately “fails to offer what confusion might ensue from the repeated references to the potential return of her debt to the debtor for review for potential referral to a law firm,” Judge Hall wrote. “This is particularly problematic in light of the fact that the Letter states that any return and subsequent review will not take place until the validation period has expired. And, the third paragraph of the Letter makes clear that, as of the date of the Letter, ‘no attorney has reviewed the particular circumstances of this account.’ “

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