Suit Allowed Over Firm's Role in Debt Collection

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Suit Allowed Over Firm's Role in Debt Collection
Anthony Lin
New York Law Journal (entire article)

January 31, 2007 A Brooklyn, N.Y., federal judge has ruled that a suit may proceed against a law firm that allegedly sent out debt collection letters without conducting any meaningful review of the cases referenced in the correspondence.

In July 2000, Upton Cohen & Slamowitz in Woodbury, N.Y., had sent a letter to plaintiff Arthur Miller seeking payment of $1,676 he had charged to a Lord & Taylor credit card. The letter, signed by Mitchell Slamowitz, stated that the firm represented the department store and that the matter had been forwarded to them for collection. The firm proceeded to file a collection action against Miller in August 2000, and he subsequently paid $1,200 to settle the suit.

Miller sued over the letter in February 2001, claiming that it violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) by being written in a manner designed to confuse the "least sophisticated consumer" and by purporting to be by an attorney who was not meaningfully involved in the matter.

In rejecting Upton Cohen's summary judgment motion last week, Eastern District of New York Judge Raymond Dearie ruled that Upton Cohen had not sufficiently shown it had conducted an adequate review of Miller's file.

"Neither the facts about defendant's familiarity with its client, nor those about the procedure it followed prior to sending the July 18, 2000, debt collection letter to plaintiff, preclude the possibility that a reasonable jury could find that it failed to satisfy [the FDCPA's] requirement for meaningful attorney involvement," Judge Dearie wrote in Miller v. Wolpoff & Abramson, 01 Civ. 1126.

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This page contains a single entry by Leonard E. Sienko, Jr. published on January 31, 2007 12:25 PM.

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