Judge Nugent issued his final ruling in Consumer Financial Protection Bureau v. Weltman, Weinberg, & Reis Co., LPA on July 25, 2018. This decision was a big win for Weltman and the creditors’ bar generally. In this case, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) argued that Weltman violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”) by sending letters to debtors on its letterhead, under the theory that the letters constituted an implicit representation that an attorney had been meaningfully involved in the file, when in fact no attorney had been so involved. The Court held that Weltman did not violate the FDCPA in sending demand letters on its letterhead because attorneys were meaningfully involved in the handling of the files on which letters were sent. Read more
Jury Makes Findings in CFPB v. WWR
The case brought against Weltman, Weinberg, & Reis (“WWR”) by the Consumer Federal Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) moved one step closer to resolution, if not clarity, this month. Senior U.S. District Judge Donald Nugent will issue a verdict after considering the jury’s conclusions of fact, which were returned on two questions:
- Did WWR’s initial demand letters contain “false, deceptive, or misleading representations or means”? The jury concluded that they did.
- Did the CFPB prove that WWR’s attorneys were not meaningfully involved in the debt collection process? The jury concluded that it did not.
A New Barrier: the Least-Sophisticated Consumer & Language Barriers
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
Prevailing Debt Collector Can Recover Costs in FDCPA Suit Without A Finding of Bad Faith
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