In Gonzalez v. Kay, — F.3d —-, 2009 WL 2357015 (5th Cir. 2009), the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit attempted to justify the various decisions involving whether a collection letter on law firm letterhead requires actual attorney involvement in the collection process. The Court of Appeals explained, in part,
In sum, the main difference between the cases is whether the letter included a clear, prominent, and conspicuous disclaimer that no lawyer was involved in the debt collection at that time. There are some letters that, as a matter of law, are not deceptive based on the language and placement of a disclaimer. At the other end of the spectrum, there are letters that are so deceptive and misleading as to violate the FDCPA as a matter of law, especially when they do not contain any disclaimer regarding the attorney’s involvement. In the middle, there are letters that include contradictory messages and therefore present closer calls. The courts in Taylor, Clomon, Kistner, and Rosenau ruled in favor of the plaintiff when the letter was on law firm letterhead, did not include any disclaimer, and (in Taylor and Clomon ) included the signature of an attorney, even though the letter may have stated that it was from a “debt collector.” Similarly, the court in Brazier ruled against the Kay Law Firm when analyzing virtually the exact same letter as here because the disclaimer, on the back of the letter, was not clear and prominent and contradicted the law firm’s letterhead on the front. By contrast, the court in Greco ruled in favor of the law firm because the letter stated, in the body of the text, that no lawyer had personally reviewed the file.