FDCPA Encourages Private Attorneys to Pursue Class Actions

In our previous blog, we discussed the recently decided Evon case, which held that collection letters sent to consumers' workplaces amounted to "per se" (automatic) violations of § 1692c(b), the section prohibiting third-party, debt-related communications.

In the Evon case, the federal appeals court for the 9th Circuit pointed out that not only was the district court incorrect in interpreting the FDCPA, but the appeals court was "struck" by the district court's "forceful statements" and dim view of FDCPA class actions generally, calling them "attorney-driven."

The appeals court rejected that viewpoint stating the following:

"The FDCPA is a consumer protection statute and was intended to permit, even encourage, attorneys like Lemberg to act as private attorney generals to pursue FDCPA claims. Moreover, plaintiffs have already benefitted and will continue to benefit from this case. Mickell admits that he has ceased his practice of sending letters to debtor's workplaces, a benefit to all class members. Furthermore, certifying the class will serve a "deterrent" component to other debt collectors who are engaging, or consider engaging in this type of debt collection tactic."

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