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CEB Prac. Guide § 2A.59 -- Defenses -- Statutory Safe Harbor for Bona Fide Errors -- Mistakes of Fact or Law

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In Kaiser v. Cascade Capital, LLC, 2021 U.S. App. LEXIS 6754, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the ruling of the District Court for the District of Oregon that granted a motion to dismiss where the District Court reasoned the debt collector did not violate the FDCPA prohibitions on attempting to collect on a time barred debt because the… Read More

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 Mercedes v. Nat'l Bus. Factors, No. 19-16055, 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 25996 (9th Cir. Aug. 17, 2020), the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit rejected application of the bona fide error defense where the debt collector outsourced its compliance obligations through a boilerplate agreement with the creditor. The parties do not dispute that NBF unintentionally violated the FDCPA… Read More

In Williams v. Enhanced Recovery Co., LLC, No. 18-cv-03699-HSG, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 137631 (N.D. Cal. Aug. 14, 2019), Judge Gilliam granted summary judgment to a debt collector. The Court finds that ERC has carried its burden to establish an entitlement to the bona fide error defense, and the Court thus does not consider whether there is a material dispute… Read More

In DiNaples v. MRS BPO, LLC, No. 18-2972, 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 23937 (3d Cir. Aug. 12, 2019), the Court of Appeals extended its Douglass decision to QR codes. There is no dispute that that provision plainly prohibits the QR code. Still, as other courts have observed, § 1692f(8) is rather expansive when read literally. It would seemingly prohibit including… Read More

In Verburg v. Weltman, Weinberg & Reis Co., L.P.A., 2018 WL 346834, at *2–3 (W.D.Mich., 2018), Judge Jonker granted an FDCPA Plaintiff's Motion in Limine to exclude a debt collector's reliance on the bona fide error defense. Lacking binding authority directly on point, the Court concludes that an affirmative defense based on mistake of state law is not available to… Read More

In Daubert v. NRA Group., LLC, 2017 WL 2836808, at *4–5 (C.A.3 (Pa.), 2017), the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit found that a medical debt servicer did not meet its burden of demonstrating that it or its assignor received consent. The Sixth Circuit found prior express consent where the plaintiffs gave their cell numbers to a hospital-intermediary in… Read More

In Pasquale v. Law Offices of Nelson & Kennard, 2013 WL 1618020 (N.D.Cal. 2013), Judge Spero held that a debt collection law firm violated the FDCPA by failing to identify in subsequent voicemail messages to a debtor that it was a debt collector under 15 USC 1692e(11), but that its failure to do so was entitled to protection under the… Read More

In Engelen v. Erin Capital Management, 2012 WL 12680 (S.D.Cal. 2012), Judge Benitez found applicable the debt collector’s affirmative defense of ‘bona fide’ error when the debt collector continued to collect on an obligation that already had been satisfied due to garnishment.  The facts were as follows.  On December 5, 2007, Erin, with Eltman acting as legal counsel, brought a… Read More

In Coleman v. Credit Management, here, Judge Lynn held that section 1692c of the FDCPA – related to communications with consumers at inconvenient times or places – does not apply to non-consumers.   Even though §1692d – related to harassing any person -- does apply to non-consumers, the section is not violated where the debt collector only makes fourteen phone calls in… Read More

In Vester v. Asset Acceptance, L.L.C., 2011 WL 4591948 (D.Colo. 2011), Judge Krieger was asked to reconsider an FDCPA ruling adverse to the consumer on the basis that the 9th Circuit’s decision in McCullough v. Johnson, Rodenburg & Lauinger, LLC, 637 F.3d 939 (9th Cir.2011) and its holding regarding the evidentiary value of generic credit card agreements to prove-up a… Read More

In Owen v. I.C. System, Inc. --- F.3d ----, 2011 WL 43525 (11th Cir. 2011), the Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit gave guidance in the post-Jerman world on the application of the bona-fide error defense. The Court explained that a ‘legal error’ under Jerman actually requires some exercise of legal judgment, explaining: There is no evidence, nor does… Read More

The FDCPA offers no definitive number on how many telephone calls constitutes harassment under 15 U.S.C. 1692d(5) and Civil Code 1788.11(e).  Recent jurisprudence, at least under the FDCPA, has suggested that a showing of pattern, intent, and consumer complaints about the excessive calls may be required.  For example, in Winberry v. United Collection Bureau, Inc., 2010 WL 996144 (M.D.Ala. 2010), Judge… Read More

In Jerman v. Carlisle, McNellie, Rini, Kramer & Ulrich, LPA, --- S.Ct. ----, 2010 WL 1558977 (2010), Justice Sotomayor ruled that the bona fide error defense in §1692k(c) does not apply to a violation resulting from a debt collector’s mistaken interpretation of the legal requirements of the FDCPA.   The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), 15 U. S. C. §1692… Read More

In Edwards v. Niagara Credit Solutions, Inc.  2009 WL 3273300 (11th Cir. 2009) the Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit decided the validity of a debt collector's concerns that complying with the mini-Miranda requirement of the FDCPA risked violating the FDCPA's prohibition against third party disclosure.  Or, as the Court of Appeals described it, whether the debt collector "had… Read More

In Ruth v. Triumph Partners, Ltd., --- F.3d ----, 2009 WL 2487092 (7th Cir. 2009), the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit held that a debt collector’s inclusion of a Gramm-Leach-Bliley privacy notice with its debt validation letter violated the FDCPA.  The Court of Appeals explained:    Upon receiving and reading the collection letter and the notice, the only… Read More

In Jerman v. Carlisle, McNellie, Rini, Kramer & Ulrich, LPA, 2009 WL 803127 (2009), the United States Supreme Court granted certiorari to address the question whether whether a debt collector's legal error qualifies for protection under the FDCPA's bona fide error defense.  The question pits the 6th and 10th Circuits -- which held that the defense protects against such errors -- against… Read More

In Seeger v. AFNI, Inc., -- F.3d -- 2008 WL 512416 (7th Cir. 2008), the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit addressed a debt collector's contention that its reliance on periodic bulletins from the American Creditor Association ("ACA") gave rise to a 'bona fide error' defense to the plaintiff's claim that, under Wisconsin law, the debt collector could not… Read More

On July 7, 2008, the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Reichert v. National Credit Systems, Inc. held that, in an action by a debtor against a debt collector under the FDCPA arising out of a debt that the debtor owed a former landlord, the debt collector bore the burden of proving the bona fide error defense.  The… Read More