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Rhode Island Federal Court Refuses to Dismiss FDCPA Case against Law Firm Pursuing Mortgage Foreclosure

Should a law firm pursuing foreclosure on behalf of a mortgagee be considered a debt collector? That is a question at issue in a Rhode Island federal court case, in which borrower Lloyd Amesbury filed a class action lawsuit alleging Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) violations against a firm retained to initiate foreclosure on his home after he received a notice of default on the firm’s letterhead. Amesbury claimed the letter was false and misleading because of a discrepancy in the amount owed described in a letter he received from the law firm in April, 2016, and a May, 2016, bankruptcy proof of claim. The law firm moved to dismiss the case on grounds that it was not a “debt collector” under the FDCPA, because the default notice was an attempt to enforce a security interest on behalf of its mortgagee client.

Although the law firm was pursuing non-judicial foreclosure of property by providing the borrower notice of default and right to cure, the Rhode Island federal court concluded that the borrower’s complaint contained facts sufficient to demonstrate that the law firm was a debt collector under the FDCPA. Here is a description of its reasoning. More ›