Menu
Photo of Consumer Crossroads: Where Financial Services and Litigation Intersect Bryce Newell
Associate
bnewell@hinshawlaw.com
212-471-6200
View Bio
Bryce Newell focuses his practice in the defense of consumer financial services claims and disputes. He is involved in all phases of the litigation …

Showing 5 posts by Bryce Newell.

Second Circuit Resolves Uncertainty Surrounding "Reverse Avila" Claims

The Court of Appeals seems to have halted much uncertainty surrounding "reverse Avila" claims by unanimously affirming the New York federal court's decision in Taylor v. Financial Recovery Services, Inc., No. 17-1650, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS ------- (2d Cir. March 29, 2018) (found here). In the wake of Avila v. Riexinger & Assocs., LLC, 817 F.3d 72 (2d Cir. 2016), savvy plaintiffs have argued that the failure to disclose that a debt is no longer accruing interest is false and misleading in violation of Section 1692e of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). The Second Circuit disagreed and held that "a collection notice that fails to disclose that interest and fees are not currently accruing on a debt is not misleading " when the letter correctly states a consumer's balance when the letter was issued.

Distinguishing Avila, the Second Circuit explained that the collection letter in Avila was misleading because a consumer could pay the full amount listed on the letter but such payment would not settle the debt. Under the facts of Avila, a consumer who paid the amount due on the collection letter would still be on the hook for an unpaid balance because interest and fees "accumulated after the notice was sent but before the balance was paid." In Taylor, the creditor instructed the collector not to accrue interest or fees on the underlying debt. Thus, because a consumer could have satisfied their debt by "making reasonably prompt payment" of the balance stated on the collection letter, it was not misleading notwithstanding the creditor's right to accrue post-placement interest on that same debt. The Second Circuit noted that the worst "harm" to plaintiffs in Taylor would be to pay sooner rather than later in order to avoid interest or fees accruing, but acceleration of payment "falls short of the obvious dangers facing consumers in Avila." More ›

Read Before You Leap: Providing Telephone Number To Communicate With Collector Does Not Overshadow Validation Rights

The New Jersey federal court has rejected a claim that providing a debtor with a telephone number and other options to communicate with a collector does not overshadow required language that the debtor must dispute the debt in writing within thirty days. The court found that the validation language concerning a consumer's right to dispute the debt under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) must be construed by considering as a whole the letter to the debtor. More ›

New Jersey Federal Judge Dismisses RICO suit against FDCPA Plaintiff Law Firms

Late last year, a debt collection agency went on the offensive and filed a RICO lawsuit against three FDCPA Plaintiff Law Firms, alleging that the Plaintiff Firms filed frivolous class action lawsuits under the FDCPA as a way to generate a quick settlement from them. Last week, Judge Michael Vazquez, in a sometimes scathing opinion, dismissed the suit, siding with the Plaintiff Firms. Judge Vazquez ultimately concluded that the filing of numerous class action lawsuits violates no laws, but is actually "standard practice." He found that the Amended Complaint was both factually and legally deficient, and the allegations that the Plaintiff Firms engaged in frivolous litigation were baseless. Moreover, Judge Vazquez concluded that filing litigation cannot form a basis for mail or wire fraud under RICO.  More ›

Northern District of New York Dismisses another Avila Claim Based on Accrual of New York Pre-Judgment Interest

One of the latest trends in the New York FDCPA space has been filing so called "Reverse Avila" cases, based on the Second Circuit's decision in Avila v. Riexinger and Assocs.. In Avila, the Second Circuit found that a debt collection letter violated the FDCPA because the letter failed to state that interest on the debt was accruing. Since Avila, new theories related to the accrual of interest claims have surfaced, including: (1) the "Reverse Avila" claim, and (2) claims requiring Avila safe harbor language in correspondence if there is any possibility (however small) that interest will accrue in the future--even if the debt was not actually increasing at the time of the correspondence. Courts have begun to deny these claims because they stretch the meaning of Avila into the realm of pure speculation. More ›

Colorado Latest State to Define Debt Buyers as Debt Collectors; Will Others Soon Follow?

On June 1, 2017, just two weeks before the U.S. Supreme Court's unanimous decision in Henson v. Santander Consumer USA, Inc., Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper signed the revised Colorado Fair Debt Collection Practices Act to specifically include debt buyers in the statute's definition of debt collectors. Colorado is now one of a small number of states that specifically include debt buyers under the law (including New York, California, and Washington). However, other states may follow suit. For instance, Oregon and Maine both have introduced bills to extend the definition of debt collector to include debt buyers. Considering that nearly two dozen state Attorneys General submitted amicus briefs to the Supreme Court in Santander in favor of including debt buyers in the definition of debt collector under the FDCPA, it is possible that more states may follow the lead of Colorado. Ultimately, the various legislatures will decide whether debt buyers should fall within the scope of the state-enacted versions of the FDCPA; but, debt buyers should note, it is likely that Colorado will not be the last state to enact such legislation. Just as Justice Gorsuch noted in his Opinion that these are matters for the legislature and not the Supreme Court to resolve, it appears that at least some states may just take Justice Gorsuch up on his offer and include debt buyers in the scope of their regulatory framework. Ironically, Justice Gorsuch’s home state of Colorado leads the way.

Search
Subscribe via Email