New York City Debt Collection Defense Attorney

FDCPA Class Action Against Erin Capital Management for Lack of Licensure

The proposed class-plaintiffs in Collins v. Erin Capital Management, LLC[1] allege that Erin Capital violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act ("FDCPA") for suing Florida consumers – and enforcing judgments – without registering with the Florida Office of Financial Regulation as required by the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act.

This action was commenced on August 4, 2012. Erin Capital registered for licensure on August 27, 2012.

Erin Capital opposed the plaintiff's motion for class certification.

The court conducted its Rule 23(a) certification analysis:

  • Numerosity: At least 48 affected consumers lived in Miami Dade County alone.
  • Commonality: The crux of this dispute is whether Erin Capital's failure to register as a consumer collection agency qualifies as a violation of the FDCPA. All issues associated therewith are capable of class-wide resolution, held the court.
  • Typicality: All plaintiffs were each allegedly subject to Erin Capital's unlicensed and unlawful collection activity.
  • Adequacy: Plaintiff collins suffered same/similar injury and his claim is not time- barred since unlicensed garnishment argued as independent violation.

As required under Rule 23(b)(3), the court found that common questions predominate over individualized ones, and it also found that the class action device is plausibly superior to individual actions.

Worth noting in my mind is Erin Capital's failure to successfully allege the Rooker-Feldman doctrine (prohibits challenging state-court judgments in federal court) as to those putative class members with pending state-court judgments. The court viewed the enforcement of those judgments as potentially independent violations.

For insight into New York's position on non-licensure in New York, see our prior blog: "In New York City, does a debt collector violate the FDCPA for not acquiring its debt collector license before suing you?" In New York, Erin Capital Management is usually represented by Eltman, Eltman & Cooper, P.C.

[1] 2013 WL 1164026, U.S. District Court, S.D. Florida