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Eleventh Circuit Issues Must-Read FCRA Decision

April 15, 2019
As discussed in this article, a March 25 Eleventh Circuit ruling is a strong pro-consumer decision on five different fronts. A furnisher’s “data conformity review” is an FCRA violation as a matter of law. The holding also addresses the FCRA “willfulness” standard, and punitive and emotional distress damages under the FCRA. The ruling is even relevant to the bona fide error defense under the FDCPA.

Key Post-Henson Decision Holds Debt Buyer Is a "Principal Purpose" Debt Collector

April 13, 2019
The Supreme Court in 2017 ruled debt buyers do not fall under the FDCPA’s second definition of a debt collector—one who regularly collects debts owed to another. As discussed here, the Third Circuit in Barbato has just found a debt buyer covered under the FDCPA’s principal purpose definition, concluding that FDCPA coverage does not require a debt buyer to engage in overt collections.

Viable FDCPA Claims Arising from Foreclosures After March 20 Supreme Court Decision

March 26, 2019
Overview On March 20, 2019, the Supreme Court’s unanimous decision in Obduskey v. McCarthy & Holthus L.L.P. examined liability for violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) that are committed in non-judicial foreclosures. This article considers which FDCPA claims arising from foreclosures are viable post-Obduskey. Obduskey holds that entities whose principal purpose is enforcing...

New Supreme Ct. Opinion Supports Challenges to Excessive State & Local Government Fines

March 1, 2019
The Supreme Court has just imposed the Eighth Amendment’s Excessive Fines Clause on the states, recognizing that the clause is a shield against government’s using high fines for revenue-generating purposes. This article explains that the opinion will surely be used to challenge the rising fines imposed by state and local governments and their impact on low-income defendants.

Tax Filers Face New Problems This Year

February 20, 2019
This article provides tips on advising lower income consumers on the many changes this tax season—including increased refund delays, increased problems with RACs, RALs, and paid tax preparers, growing use of private collection of IRS debt, and new requirements to renew ITINs. Also included are pointers on dealing with unaffordable taxes.

As of December 1, New Rules Alter Class Action Notices, Settlements, and Objections

December 10, 2018
This article examines Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23 changes that, effective December 1, establish new standards for electronic class action notices, require more information before approval of a class notice, clarify standards for court approval of a class settlement, and seek to reduce abuses by those improperly objecting to class settlements.

Schools' Use of Mandatory Arbitration Now Sharply Curtailed; Loan Discharge Rights Expanded

October 19, 2018
A court has ordered that long-delayed Dep’t of Ed. rules become effective October 16, 2018. This article explains how the rules now: prohibit schools from requiring mandatory arbitration or class waivers of certain student claims, even for preexisting agreements; increase the availability of closed school and false certification discharges; and improve the administrative process for students to raise school-related defenses on their loans.

The Latest on Metro 2: A Key Determinant As to What Goes Into Consumer Reports

October 17, 2018
Billions of pieces of information that creditors, debt collectors, and other “furnishers” of information send to credit reporting agencies are in a standard format called Metro 2. This article links to updated and expanded information on creditors’ liability when they report consumer data in a non-conforming manner that leads to inaccurate consumer reports.

The Latest TCPA Decisions on Robocalls

August 14, 2018
Significant decisions on the TCPA—allowing $500 damages ($1500 if willful or knowing) for each unwanted robocall or robotext—pour in almost daily. This article summarizes the very latest developments on the definition of “autodialer” (the key TCPA issue today), the limited impact of arbitration requirements, revocation of consumer consent, and more.