A consumer who brought his own suit against a debt collector under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”) because the debt collector sued him in the wrong court will be allowed to proceed with his case. The January 10, 2011 decision from New York’s highest federal court held that because Cohen & Slamowitz tried to collect a debt by suing the consumer in Syracuse City Court when the consumer did not reside in Syracuse or “a town contiguous thereto,” the debt collector violated the venue requirement of the FDCPA.
Cohen & Slamowitz had obtained a default judgment against the debtor in the Syracuse City Court, but the consumer fought back, and was able to get the city court decision vacated. He then sued Cohen & Slamowitz in federal district court, but the district court dismissed the complaint, holding that the consumer had not brought a claim that was legally actionable. The Appeals Court ruling reversed that decision.
See the full text of the opinion, Hess v. Cohen & Slamowitz at Second Circuit rules against Midland, Cohen & Slamowitz