Medical collection firm does not escape "debt collector" status

As collection lawyers know, Federal law (FDCPA) governs the conduct of debt collectors who are basically defined as any creditor who collects debt for another as a separate entity. This case involved a collection firm collecting on behalf of a surgeon. The plaintiffs argued that the two entities (surgeon's office and collector) were one in the same. But the court found that the collection outfit was a separate "debt collector" and was thus required to serve on defendant a validation notice upon its first communication, and to properly verify the debt. See FDCPA §808.

This case, Associated Plastic Surgeons v. Konit, is interesting to me because the small claims court in the District Court of Nassau had subject matter jurisdiction over counterclaims under the FDCPA. Concurrent jurisdiction exists irrespective of the puny amount at issue. Also take note that Attorneys must always exchange an affirmation of legal services and the retainer when seeking attorneys fees under the FDCPA. Keep good records!

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