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Martin and Priore Gain Affirmation of Dismissal of FDCPA Class Action Complaint

November 26, 2019

Chris Martin (Partner-Albany) and Chris Priore (Associate-Albany) secured an affirmance at the Second Circuit of a district court’s dismissal of a Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) class action complaint by granting our Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings pursuant to FRCP 12(c), and denial of the plaintiff’s Motion for Class Certification as moot. The Court held that where an underlying debt is “static” it is immaterial whether the inclusion of “N/A” could be interpreted to mean either (1) never accrued interest prior to placement in collections or that any accrued interest was forgiven or (2) that the debt is not currently accruing interest − one of which is false/inaccurate. The Court explained that to survive our motion, the appellant needed to not only establish that both of those interpretations of the Notice are reasonable but also, critically, that the purported harm to the consumer was material. The Court also specifically noted/held that, “where the debt is static, it is immaterial whether the ‘N/A’ language in this debt collection notice could be understood to mean that the underlying debt never accrued interest prior to the placement in collections or that any accrued interest was forgiven.” Finally, the Second Circuit affirmed the district court’s denial of the plaintiff’s Motion for Class Certification, a potential class of nearly 20,000 members, as moot. 

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