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Robert Horwitz’s national practice includes defending Fortune 500 companies, debt buyers, debt collection agencies, creditors and others in consumer litigation involving the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), the Federal Trade Commission Act, and the Consumer Financial Protection Act. Mr. Horwitz’s extensive litigation experience includes handling numerous class actions at both the trial and appellate levels.

On June 12, 2017, the United States Supreme Court held that a buyer of defaulted consumer debt was not subject to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”). The question of whether such debt buyers fit within the FDCPA’s definition of “debt collector” has long been a subject of contention. While this result will not shield debt buyers entirely from the FDCPA’s purview, it does provide additional defenses against FDCPA liability and has broad potential implications for other consumer protection actions.

In Henson v. Santander Consumer USA, the petitioner had defaulted on a car loan owed to CitiFinancial Auto, which then sold the debt to Santander, which attempted to collect on the debt. The petitioner alleged that Santander’s collection methods violated the FDCPA. Continue Reading Debt Buyers Get Some FDCPA Relief from Supreme Court: Case Offers Insights But Leaves Some Questions Unanswered

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) announced yesterday at a field hearing in Sacramento, California, that it is considering several potential approaches to issuing rules on debt collection. The CFPB would take this action pursuant to its authority under the Dodd-Frank Act to issue regulations implementing the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”) as well as to issue regulations prohibiting unfair, deceptive, and abusive acts and practices. This rulemaking would mark the first time regulations would be issued to implement the FDCPA, and it is likely to have significant effects on the debt collection industry.

Continue Reading CFPB Releases Outline of Proposals for Debt Collection Rules

In an important ruling for debt collectors, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held in Hernandez v. Williams, Docket No. 14-15672 (2016), that the failure of a debt collector (successor or otherwise) to send its own “validation notice” under 15 U.S.C. §  1692g(a) to a consumer violates the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”), specifically 15 U.S.C. § 1692g, even when a prior debt collector sent its own validation notice to the same person. In doing so, the Court reasoned that placing the requirement on any and all debt collectors involved was in line with the consumer-protection purpose of the FDCPA.

Continue Reading Ninth Circuit Holds That Each Debt Collector Must Send to the Consumer Disclosures After Its Own Initial Communication Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)

On February 12, 2016, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit issued its opinion in Baisden v. Credit Adjustments, Inc., 15-3411 (CA 6) (for publication), affirming dismissal of a purported class action under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”). In Baisden, plaintiffs were the recipients of medical services from Mount Caramel Hospital in Ohio. As part of the care provided, plaintiffs received anesthesiology services from Consultant Anesthesiologists, an anesthesiologist group working within the hospital. When plaintiffs failed to pay for the services rendered, Consultant Anesthesiologists sent their accounts to debt collector, Credit Adjustments. Credit Adjustments used an automatic telephone dialing system and prerecorded messages to contact plaintiffs on their cell phones to request payment.

Continue Reading Sixth Circuit Issues Important TCPA Ruling on “Prior Express Consent”