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Showing 40 posts in Debt Collection.

Federal Court Nixes Massachusetts Attorney General's Emergency Debt Collection Regulations

Yesterday, a federal court granted ACA International's request for a temporary restraining order of the Massachusetts Attorney General's emergency regulations prohibiting debt collection calls and enforcement actions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

District Court Judge Richard G. Stearns concluded that the AG's "flat ban" on debt collection calls violates the First Amendment as an impermissible restriction on commercial speech. In addition, Judge Stearns held that regulations prohibiting the initiation of lawsuits—even temporarily—violates the First Amendment right of debt collectors' to petition the government. More ›

Federal Court Hears Oral Argument in ACA's TRO Petition Seeking to Enjoin Massachusetts's Emergency Debt Collection Regulations

On May 1, 2020, U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts Judge Richard Stearns heard oral arguments in ACA International's suit to halt the emergency debt collection regulations enacted in Massachusetts, which included a request for a temporary restraining order. In response to ACA's said request, Stearns expressed particular interest in whether the regulations constitute an improper ban on commercial speech under the First Amendment, as well as AG Maura Healey's argument that the federal court does not have jurisdiction to strike down the regulations under the Eleventh Amendment. More ›

Collection Industry Trade Group Sues Massachusetts Attorney General to Halt Emergency Regulations

We recently reported on Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey's implementation of temporary regulations halting collection of debt from Massachusetts' consumers in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. With certain exemptions, the regulations declare the performance of many regular debt collection activities—including placing telephone calls to debtors or initiating collection actions—an unfair or deceptive practice under the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Act. The emergency regulations apply until June 25, 2020, or until the end of Massachusetts' state of emergency, if longer. Now, a leading industry group has sued the Attorney General to enjoin immediate enforcement and to strike down the regulations. More ›

New York Cuts Statute of Limitations for Bringing an Action to Recover Medical Debts From Six to Three Years

On April 3, 2020, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo signed New York's 2021 Executive Budget into law. Many of Governor Cuomo's and lawmakers' legislative agenda priorities were not included in the budget, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Notably, Governor Cuomo's call for formal licensing and regulation of the debt collection industry was removed from the final budget. More ›

Massachusetts Attorney General Implements Emergency Debt Collection Regulations in Response to COVID-19 Crisis

From March 27 through June 25, 2020—or until the end of Massachusetts' state of emergency—Attorney General Maura Healey has implemented temporary regulations on the collection of debt from Massachusetts consumers, which supplements existing regulations codified at 940 CMR 7.00. Important exemptions apply, including attempts to collect a debt which is owing as a result of a loan secured by a mortgage on real property. More ›

Uniformity Achieved: Third Circuit Rules There is No Written Requirement to Dispute Validity of a Debt Under FDCPA

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals issued an en banc decision in Riccio v. Sentry Credit, overturning Graziano v. Harrison, after finding that there is no written dispute requirement in Section 1692g(a)(3) of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). According to the court, this decision ends "a circuit split and restores national uniformity to the meaning of §1692g." Moreover, the decision applies retroactively to any claim still open on the issue, thus closing the chapter on a written requirement for Section 1692g. More ›

Governors of California and New York Announce Enhanced Consumer Protection Agendas for 2020

The Governors of California and New York have announced 2020 policy agendas that aim to expand consumer protections in response to what they describe as federal inaction, roll backs, and failures. We explore these proposed changes in detail below. More ›

Emerging Trend: Another Federal Court Finds that Predictive Dialers Fall Outside the TCPA's Definition of an ATDS

In 2018, the D.C. Court of Appeals issued ACA International, et al. v. FCC that set aside key determinations of the FCC's interpretations of what qualifies as an automated telephone dialer service (ATDS). The D.C. Circuit concluded that the focus of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act's (TCPA) definition of an ATDS should be on the device's "present capacity" to store and produce telephone numbers, as opposed to its "potential functionalities" or "future possibility." Since this decision, courts have remained split as to what qualifies as an ATDS, although there is a growing trend of courts concluding that a predictive dialer is not an ATDS unless it has the present capacity to store and produce phone numbers randomly and sequentially. On July 30, 2019, the Northern District of Texas joined that trend with its decision in Adams v. Safe Home Security Inc. More ›

Creditors Beware: Collection of Debt Based on Unreasonable Belief/Understanding That the Debt Was Not Discharged in Bankruptcy Might Lead to a Finding of Civil Contempt

In Taggart v. Lorenzen, the U.S. Supreme Court reviewed the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals' Order, which affirmed the Bankruptcy Appellate Panel's Order vacating civil contempt sanctions against Bradley Taggart's ("Bradley") creditors for violation of a Bankruptcy Court discharge Order. On certiorari to the Court, the central issue was to determine "what the appropriate criteria should be for a Court to hold a creditor in civil contempt for attempting to collect a debt that a discharge order has immunized from collection." And, SCOTUS adopted an objective standard, which creditors should be mindful of going forward. More ›

Second Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Consumer Plaintiff Avila’s Challenge to the Safe Harbor She Established in Avila I

We previously discussed Avila v. Reliant (Avila II) and U.S. District Court Judge Spatt’s dismissal of a consumer’s attempt to sue on the “safe harbor” language she helped establish in Avila v. Riexinger & Associates (Avila I). As predicted, Avila II was appealed to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. Although the Second Circuit affirmed the dismissal, the Court did not address Judge Spatt’s reasoning for the dismissal. More ›

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