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CEB Prac. Guide § 2A.51 -- Liability -- Penalties and Punitive Damages

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In Hanrahan v. Statewide Collection, Inc., No. 19-cv-00157-MMC, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 242290 (N.D. Cal. Dec. 23, 2020), Judge Chesney granted partial summary judgment to a Rosenthal Act Plaintiff.  She held that the bond fide error rule can apply to mistakes of fact, but not where the mistake occurred with respect to a well-publicized error made by the debt collector.… Read More

In Tourgeman v. Nelson & Kennard, here, the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that the Plaintiff bore the burden of proving the defendant's net worth under the FDCPA's penalty provision. Here, Tourgeman had every opportunity to acquire evidence of Nelson & Kennard's net worth. A protective order was entered to give Tourgeman access to Defendant's financial information,… Read More

In Johnson v. Enhanced Recovery Company, LLC., 2018 WL 2057798, at *2–3 (N.D.Ind., 2018), Judge Simon certified an FDCPA class action over the defendant's objection. ERC also argues that the FDCPA claim here depends on a material misrepresentation, and that “[w]hether any statements resulted in a material misstatement that actually affected the recipient’s decision-making is an issue that cannot be… Read More

In Byrne v. Crown Asset Management, LLC., 2018 WL 1609479, at *2 (N.D.Cal., 2018), Judge Chen found that California's elder abuse statute permits trebling of the Rosenthal Act penalty. Defendant TRG argues that Section 3345 only authorizes trebling of punitive damages, and therefore the request should be interpreted as a “de facto” demand for punitive damages, which are unavailable under the… Read More

In Spice v. Blatt, Hasenmiller, Liebsker & Moore LLC, 2018 WL 525723, at *8–9 (N.D.Ind., 2018), Judge Springmann certified an FDCPA class over defendant's objection that the $500,000 statutory cap would only result in de minimus recovery and, therefore, the class action device was not the superior method to adjudicate the dispute. The Defendant counters that a class action is… Read More

In Bonanno v. New Penn Financial dba Shellpoint Mtg. Servicing, Case No: 5:17-cv-229-Oc-30PRL, 2017 WL 3219517 (M.D. Fla. July 28, 2017), the District Court found that the FDCPA affords no right to punitive damages. Shellpoint argues Bonanno's punitive damages and injunctive relief claims under the FDCPA should also be dismissed. The Court agrees. Damages exceeding the $1,000 cap in section… Read More

In Annunziato v. Collecto, Inc., 2016 WL 5407871, at *15–16 (E.D.N.Y. 2016), Judge Spatt held that a debt collector's goodwill is included in calculating the defendant's net worth under the FDCPA's class action penalty calculus.  This is contrary to the 7th Circuit's decision in Sanders v. Jackson, 209 F.3d 998, 1001 (7th Cir. 2000), which held that goodwill was not to… Read More

In Tourgeman v. Collins Financial Services, Inc., 2016 WL 3854540, at *2-4 (S.D.Cal. 2016), Judge Bencivengo dismissed FDCPA class allegations because the Plaintiff had no evidence of the defendant's net worth. In support of his position, Plaintiff cites to the fact that the FDCPA statutory award is a punitive in nature, i.e., the jury considers defendant's conduct and provides for… Read More

In Datta v. Asset Recovery Solutions, LLC, 2016 WL 1070666, at *7-10 (N.D.Cal., 2016), Judge Koh rejected the argument that the FDCPA's $500,000 cap prevented certification of an FDCPA/glassine window case. . . . the Court observes that, as a general matter, courts routinely certify class actions where monetary recovery would be small. . . . Second, the efficacy of a single… Read More

In Nall v. Allied Interstate, LLC, 2015 WL 6529233, at *1-2 (S.D.Ind. 2015), Judge Baker allowed net worth discovery in an FDCPA class action as relevant towards the propriety of class certification. The cases cited by Plaintiff support the requested discovery. See Green, 997 F.Supp.2d at 935–36 (finding net worth helpful in deciding class certification). Net worth is helpful in… Read More

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