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Star Ledger (NJ): NJ Gov Chris Christie’s brash words on N.J. Supreme Court may be undermining state’s judicial branch

Chris Christie came into office on a promise to take the NJ Supreme Court off “its pedestal” and place it on a equal footing with the legislative and executive branches. The Star Ledger reports on the devisiveness that has permeated relations between NJ’s Governor and the Courts and its impact upon NJ’s legal system. You can read the article here.

CFPB Plans to Regulate The Practice of Law

Yesterday the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) released its proposed rule “Defining Larger Participants in Certain Consumer Financial Product and Service Market.” The proposed rule calls for the CFPB to regulate certain attorneys to protect the public welfare. Why? Becuase, Collection attorneys and law firms may collect through litigation (i.e., filing suit against consumers to collect debt). How dare those attorneys file complaints and litigate lawsuits. You can bet I’ll have a little more on the topic in a few days.  

Missouri Supreme Court – Because Chain of Title Deficient, Assignee lacked Standing to Sue on Debt

Last month the Missouri Supreme Court handed down a decision concerning a failure of proof in establishing chain of title on assignment of debt. The decision itself is unremarkable and you can read it here CACH v. Askew. The problem was simple – no testimony was proffered concerning the account being included in the prior assignee’s bill of sale, rather the trial court inferred the account was included in a “Schedule A” which should have been, but was not, attached to the prior assignee’s bill of sale. A few years back I participated in a teleconference for ACA International explaining bill…

The Folly of the FTC’s Take on Statutes of Limitation

The Federal Trade Commission had an epiphany last week – debt collectors must disclose in their communications that a debt subject to a statute of limitations defense creates a “legal right” which prevents a creditor from filing a lawsuit. Read it here: FTC Press Release, 1/30/12. It only took the federal agency 33 years of enforcing the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (15 U.S.C. § 1692) (the “FDCPA”) to come to this conclusion. Quite a milestone and quite a reflection of our times. Although I haven’t been working on FDCPA issues quite as long as my colleagues in Washington, I’ve…

CFPB Unveils Online Credit Card Complaint Form – “Form over Substance”

On Day Two of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”), it unveiled its online Credit Card Complaint form. It is available here: http://tinyurl.com/3o9p8pr. Enter a complaint and the CFPB says “We’ll forward your issue to your credit card company, give you a tracking number, and keep you updated on the status of your complaint.” In keeping with the  unique look of the CFPB’s website, the form is neat, sleek and real simple, but there’s a problem – credit card holders may lose important rights when deciding to use the CFPB’s portal as their only form of making disputes. Credit card…

Third Circuit Holds §1692g(a) Claim must be Brought Within One Year of First Communication

A claim that a debt collector violated §1692g(a) of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”) must be filed within one-year of the first communication, the Third Circuit recently held in Peterson v. Portfolio Recovery Associates, LLC, Case Nos: 10-2824 & 10-4013, 2011 U.S. App. LEXIS 11453 (3d Cir. June 6, 2011). In this decision, the first by a circuit court on the issue, the court specifically rejects the notion that subsequent communications by a debt collector can constitute separate and discreet violations of §1692g(a). Section §1692g(a) provides that a debt collector must provide a consumer with certain written disclosures…

Collecting Time Barred Debt is not a Per Se Violation of the FDCPA Third Circuit Holds

A debt collector who attempted to collect a debt barred by a New Jersey statute of limitation did not violate the FDCPA by simply demanding payment of the debt, as held by the Third Circuit’s decision in Huertas v. Galaxy Asset Management. The court noted that New Jersey’s statute of limitation was procedural and did not extinguish the debt only the means by which it can be enforced.  Thus, the court wrote, “the FDCPA permits a debt collector to seek voluntary repayment of the time-barred debt so long as the debt collector does not initiate or threaten legal action in…

Third Circuit Reiterates that a 1692f(1) Claim Arising from a Communication to Debtor’s Counsel is not Barred by NJ’s Litigation Privilege

Yesterday, the Third Circuit again held that a communication from a debt collector to a debtor’s counsel is not barred by New Jersey’s common-law litigation privilege. The Court reversed the District Court’s dismissal of a §1692f(1) claim relying on its decision last month in Allen v. LaSalle Bank. As I wrote last month in discussing Allen, the appeal in Ogbin was pending at the time Allen was decided (http://tinyurl.com/4rsyevr). This decision did not offer any surprises or further reasoning into why the state common-law litigation privilege is ineffective against FDCPA claims. The decision is available here: Ogbin v Fein Such

Violation of the New Jersey Professional Services Corporation Act Sufficient Basis for Violation of the FDCPA

When a New Jersey law firm purchased charged-off debt, then filed suit to collect it, it found itself facing a Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”) putative class action. The lawsuit alleged that Hudson Law Offices, P.C. violated the New Jersey Professional Services Corporation Act (“PSCA”) by engaging in the business of purchasing defaulted credit-card debt and then suing alleged consumers to collect those debts. In denying the law firm’s motion to dismiss the Complaint, a New Jersey Federal Court Judge found that the a law firm organized under the New Jersey PSCA is prohibited from engaging in any business…

NJ Court Allows Mortgage Assignee to Foreclose Despite Lost Note

In Bank of America v. Alvarado, BER-F-47941-08 (January 7, 2011), Alvarado obtained a mortgage loan from Washington Mutual in 2006. After the loan was closed, Washington Mutual lost the note. It made an Affidavit of Lost Note dated July 14, 2006. Ownership of the mortgage loan, which included the Affidavit of Lost Note, was subsequently assigned to LaSalle Bank, as a trustee of a pool of mortgage loans. LaSalle Bank was then acquired in a merger by Bank of America. When the loan defaulted in 2008, Bank of America commenced a foreclosure action. Alvarado defended the foreclosure action on the…