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Posts tagged as “New Jersey”

NJ Supreme Court Holds Invalidity of Transaction as a Whole Does Not Negate Arbitration Agreement

The Supreme Court of New Jersey held that where a plaintiff challenges the validity of a transaction as a whole and not specifically the arbitration agreement that is included as part of a transaction, the plaintiff must arbitrate their claims because an arbitration agreement is severable and enforceable, notwithstanding a plaintiff’s general claims about the invalidity of the transaction as a whole. Accordingly, the judgment of the appellate court was reversed and the trial court orders compelling arbitration were reinstated. A copy of the opinion in Goffe v. Foulke Management Corp. is available at:  Link to Opinion. The plaintiffs each purchased cars…

NJ Court Holds No FDCPA Violation for Filing Suit on Time-Barred Debt

Filing a lawsuit to collect a time-barred debt does not violate the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act according to a June 30 decision from a New Jersey state trial court. The decision, Midland Funding v. Thiel, involved a collection action to recover the unpaid balance of a Home Depot credit card. The law firm representing the creditor filed suit under New Jersey’s six-year limitation period for contracts, which has been applied to countless credit card debts. The trial court dismissed the claim reasoning that this particular credit card could only be used to make purchases at Home Depot. Four Year Limitations…

Branded Credit Card Time Barred By Sale of Goods Limitations Period

The  New Jersey Appellate Division held in a surprising decision that a retail-branded credit card was time barred by its four year statute of limitations for the sale of goods. Trial Court Applied Six Year Statute A debt buyer filed a complaint in July 2012 to recover a defaulted store-branded credit card. The debtor counterclaimed under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act arguing that the purchases she made with her card represented the sale of goods and since she defaulted in August of 2006, the debt buyer’s claim was time barred by New Jersey’s Uniform Commercial Code Article 2-725. The trial court…

FDCPA Decision of the Day: Attorney’s Letterhead, Alone, Not a Threat to Sue

In today’s FDCPA Decision of the Day, a United States District Court for the District of New Jersey held that an attorney’s letterhead, standing alone, is not an implied threat of litigation. The Plaintiff, a New Jersey resident, claimed that the defendant, a Georgia law firm, violated section 1692e(5) of the FDCPA (prohibiting “[a] threat to take any action that cannot legally be taken or that is not intended to be taken”) when it sent him a dunning letter. The basis for the claim was that the Georgia law firm could not file a lawsuit because none of its attorneys were licensed in New Jersey. “It is…

NJ Ethics Opinion Deems Sending Collection Letters as the Practice of Law

When a law firm uses its letterhead to collect debt for its client, it “cannot disclaim the fact that he or she is engaging in the practice of law when using law firm letterhead,” states a recent joint opinion by the New Jersey Committee on the Unauthorized Practice of Law and the Advisory Committee on Professional Ethics. 1 Rejects Lawyers’ Use of Greco Disclaimers The Opinion directly contradicts the Second Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision in Greco v. Trauner, Cohen & Thomas, LLP.2 In Greco, the court explained that: attorneys can participate in debt collection in any number of ways,…

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.

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…