31 Aug FDCPA Violated By Letter To Attorney
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act covers letters to an attorney and not only to the consumer. This is not commonly understood, yet it can add dollars to your ultimate recovery.
The Supreme Court’s benchmark decision, which ruled that attorneys are subject to the FDCPA, was itself based upon a lawyer-to-lawyer settlement demand for a false insurance obligation as part of a defaulted car loan. (The Supreme Court’s opinion inexplicably described a letter to the debtor plaintiff and not to her attorney.Heintz v. Jenkins, 514 U.S. 291 (U.S. 1995).
On remand, the Seventh Circuit made clear that the violating letter was to the consumer’s attorney: “[D]efendant Heintz sent Jenkins’ lawyer a settlement offer asking for $ 4,173 in premiums for this force placed insurance as well as $ 3,000 remaining on the principal balance of the loan (as well as some $ 1,000 in penalties).” Jenkins v. Heintz, 124 F.3d 824, 827 (7th Cir. 1997) (recovery denied for other, evidentiary reasons).
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L. Jed Berliner practices exclusively in consumer bankruptcy, foreclosure defense, and related consumer protection litigation such as credit card defenses and suing debt collectors. He established his Springfield, MA practice in 1988. Attorney Berliner is a regular and active contributor to the Bankruptcy Law Network, the Bankruptcy Roundtable, and the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys, three specialized consumer bankruptcy forums on the Internet, and is an informal mentor to regional practitioners. He is recognized by his peers as an expert in consumer bankruptcy issues. He thoroughly enjoys being rated "excellent" in his client surveys.
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