A New Barrier: the Least-Sophisticated Consumer & Language Barriers


Article by: Sasha Lemon


A majority of federal court circuits have adopted the least-sophisticated consumer standard in analyzing Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) claims. The least-sophisticated consumer standard is to ensure that the FDCPA protects gullible as well as shrewd consumers. Creditor Rights advocates have had to contend with this standard, which essentially lowers the burden for a consumer, for years. Although the standard provides deference to the consumer, it is still fairly objective; it merely asks whether the least sophisticated consumer would have been misled by the actions of the debt collector…. Read More >

House Bill Would Exempt Collection Attorneys Engaged in Litigation from the FDCPA


Article by: Dean Kanellis


A bill that was recently introduced in the House of Representatives would exempt debt collection attorneys from the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) “when taking certain actions.” The Bill, which was introduced by Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.) and co-sponsored by Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.), is described as a technical fix that does not erode the consumer protections afforded by the FDCPA…. Read More >

To Leave a Voicemail, or Not to Leave a Voicemail: A Collection Industry Dilemna


Article by: Scott Paris


Over the past five years, debt collection agencies and law firms have had to struggle with the question of whether or not to leave voicemail messages for debtors. The source of this quagmire, and its potential consequences, lay in the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), and its interpretation by Federal Courts since 2007. It should be noted at the outset that under federal law, communications from an original creditor does not fall under the rubric of the FDCPA. However, individual state laws may have their own requirements for communications from original creditors. This article only addresses voicemail messages left by collection agencies, law firms or third party collection entities on your behalf…. Read More >

Debt Collection & Technology: Using Email, Wireless Communications & Social Networking in the Collection of Debts


Article by: Scott Paris


Congress enacted the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (“FDCPA”) on September 20, 1977 to protect consumers by eliminating abusive debt collection practices. At that time, the only modes of communication in debt collection were land-line telephones and U.S. Mail (now known as “snail mail”). Steve Jobs had just invented the first Apple I personal computer, the first cellular network had not yet been installed in the United States and Mark Zuckerberg (the “co-founder” of Facebook) was not yet born. For those of you familiar with the text and application of the FDCPA, it is painfully clear that Congress did not anticipate the emergence of new technologies utilized in the consumer collection of debts. Case law addressing the use of voicemail messages confirms this conclusion…. Read More >

Ohio State Spotlight Webinar FDCPA Update


Article by: Dean Kanellis


Sometime in June 2012, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals decided that a law firm could be liable, under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”), for stating the wrong identity of the mortgage owner in a foreclosure complaint. In effect, the Sixth Circuit held that a pre-assignment foreclosure filing could violate the FDCPA…. Read More >

Prevailing Debt Collector Can Recover Costs in FDCPA Suit Without A Finding of Bad Faith


Article by: Dean Kanellis


In what some have characterized as a defeat for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the United States Supreme Court has ruled that a prevailing defendant in a FDCPA suit can recover costs without having to show that the suit was filed in bad faith or for the purpose of harassment. This decision not only represents a rejection of the position that was taken by the CFPB and the FTC in a jointly filed amicus brief, but it should also serve to discourage frivolous nuisance suits claiming violations of the FDCPA…. Read More >

Mortgage foreclosure is debt collection under the FDCPA


Article by: Dean Kanellis


FDCPALast June, the Sixth Circuit decided that a law firm could be liable, under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”), for stating the wrong identity of the mortgage owner in a foreclosure complaint. In effect, the Sixth Circuit held that a pre-assignment foreclosure filing could violate the FDCPA. Earlier this month, the same court decided another case involving the application of the FDCPA to judicial foreclosure proceedings. This latest case strongly suggests that misstatements in a foreclosure complaint, and presumably other court filings, subject not only the plaintiff’s attorney to the FDCPA, but the loan servicer client as well.

Read More >

Pre-assignment foreclosure filing may violate the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act


Article by: Dean Kanellis


The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, in Wallace v. Washington Mutual, recently announced that filing a foreclosure complaint, before the note and mortgage have been transferred and assigned to the Plaintiff, may violate the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (the “FDCPA”). More importantly, the court noted that the FDCPA may be violated even if state law permits the Plaintiff to cure a real-party in interest defect after the complaint is filed. Finally, although the defendant in this case was the law firm that represented the foreclosure plaintiff, depending on the circumstances, a servicer may be liable under the same theory that was announced by this court.

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Our Fees

Our fees are competitive and conform to industry standards. In most instances, the following fee arrangements are available:


1. Collection matters are handled on a contingency fee basis, but an hourly option is available and sometimes requested by clients who hold large balance claims. At a clients’ request, fees for collection matters can be billed on a per item flat fee basis for letters, pleadings, motions, and executions.


2. Uncontested foreclosures and related bankruptcy and eviction matters are most often billed on a flat fee basis according to the Fannie Mae guidelines. Contested matters, and counterclaims, generally require additional flat fee or hourly billing, subject to client approval;


3. Uncontested replevin cases are also handled on a flat fee basis. If the right to recover possession is opposed, the matter is converted to an hourly fee basis, upon client approval;


4. Mechanic’s lien matters are treated the same as replevin cases, unless they involve multiple properties, or otherwise relate to unusual subject matter;


5. Our firm is also pioneering the availability and use of alternative fee arrangements (“AFA’s”) for legal services that have traditionally been billed hourly. The availability of AFA’s is a product of our firm’s ambition to deliver legal services in an efficient and cost-effective manner, and help clients more effectively forecast and contain costs. AFA’s are available for an ever expanding range of matters, including litigation defense, discovery disputes, and appellate practice.

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