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Photo of Consumer Crossroads: Where Financial Services and Litigation Intersect Barbara Fernandez
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bfernandez@hinshawlaw.com
305-428-5031
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Barbara Fernandez focuses her litigation practice in the areas of consumer and class action litigation. She has extensive experience in the defense of …

Showing 4 posts by Barbara Fernandez.

Congress Takes a Significant Step Towards Replacing Dodd-Frank and Gutting the CFPB

On Thursday, as we anticipated in a previous blog post, the House of Representatives voted along party lines to pass the Financial CHOICE ACT ("FCA"), which would repeal Dodd-Frank and strip the CFPB of its authority.

The debate leading up to the vote also appeared to divide sharply along partisan lines, with Republicans urging their colleagues to vote for the Bill, and Democrats insisting that it was the "Wrong Choice" for Americans. Despite their differing opinions, representatives from all parties appeared to articulate the same goal: putting Main Street America ahead of Wall Street.

Supporters of the FCA contend that the purported benefits of Dodd-Frank have never materialized. They argue that due to Dodd-Frank’s excessive and expensive regulatory burdens, small banks and businesses have failed, while big banks have continued to thrive. Imposing the same regulations on every financial institution, they say, has strangled small community banks, and forced many to shut down. This problem triggered another major concern of the bill's supporters, namely an alleged lack of choice of financial products and the increased cost of these same products. More ›

Supreme Court Watch: Debt Collector Filing Bankruptcy Proof of Claim for Time-Barred Debt Avoids FDCPA Liability

What does the United States Supreme Court's decision issued earlier this week in Midland Funding, LLC v. Johnson mean for debt collectors? It means that debt collectors may file proofs of claim in a debtor's bankruptcy on time-barred debt without risk of violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). In Johnson, a debt collector filed a proof of claim in bankruptcy court for a debt that was outside the six year statute of limitations, the bankruptcy court dismissed the claim as time-barred, and the debtor filed a separate, subsequent lawsuit arguing that the claim was misleading in violation of the FDCPA. The Eleventh Circuit agreed concluding that filing proofs of claim on time-barred debt amounted to false and misleading conduct. More ›

Selling a Car, Texting and the TCPA

After a car dealership (allegedly) texted a person who listed a car for sale on Craiglist, the would be seller filed a class action suit against the dealer claiming the texts were unsolicited, made without consent, and violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).

The Florida federal court, in light of the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, 136 S. Ct. 1540 (2016) ordered briefing on whether texting created standing for the Craiglist seller to sue. On review, the federal court concluded receiving prohibited text messages and calls amount to sufficiently concrete and particularized harm. The court acknowledged other cases from around the country in which courts held that violations of the TCPA alone do not create injury for standing to sue but disagreed with this analysis.  Instead, just the unsolicited telephone contact was the injury and any analysis of how the person was contacted does not matter for standing.  With ongoing disagreement among courts throughout the country on what constitutes an injury sufficient to bring suit in federal court, expect rulings to continue to come down on both sides of the issue until the appellate courts provide further guidance.

The case is Mohamed v. Off Lease Only, Inc., Case No. 15-23352-Civ-COOKE/TORRES.

Nearly Fifty Debt Collector Calls in Two Weeks a Legitimate FDCPA Practice

A debt collector seeking to collect on a GAP credit card debt placed 49 telephone calls over the course of 18 days. The cardholder filed suit, arguing the calls constituted harassment under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). Specifically, the cardholder stated that he had to stop what he was doing every time the phone rang, which not only disrupted and distracted him from his daily activities, but also caused frustration and anxiety. 

A California federal court disagreed, finding the call frequency did not constitute harassment under the FDCPA because the debt collector waited at least 90 minutes between each call, did not contact the cardholder more than five times in a single day, and never left any voicemails. The court concluded the volume of calls resulted from the collector's inability to reach the cardholder, and that the number of attempts were legitimate and reasonable in light of the collector's unsuccessful efforts to reach the cardholder. Download a copy of the decision issued in Hinderstein v. Advanced Call Center Technologies, et al., Case No. CV-15-10017-DTB (C.D.Cal. Feb. 27, 2017)

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