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Vasquez v. Client Services, Inc.

Daniel S. Strick successfully filed motions to dismiss plaintiff’s complaints in two different Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”) cases brought in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey. 

            Generally speaking, Congress enacted the FDCPA “to eliminate abusive debt collection practices.”  15 U.S.C. § 1692(e). Persons aggrieved by a debt collector’s violation of any one or more of the statutory requirements may seek legal redress pursuant to the private cause of action created by the statute. 15 U.S.C. § 1692k.  The statute provides, in relevant part, that “[a] debt collector may not use any false, deceptive, or misleading representation or means in connection with the collection of any debt.”  15 U.S.C. § 1692e.  “Lender-debtor communications potentially giving rise to claims under the FDCPA . . . should be analyzed from the perspective of the least sophisticated debtor.” 

            Pursuant to the FDCPA, successful plaintiffs are entitled to recover actual damages, statutory damages of $1,000.00 per violation, costs and attorneys’ fees.

I.          Vasquez v. Client Services, Inc.

            In Vasquez v. Client Services, Inc., the plaintiff alleged the FDCPA was violated because the debt collector failed to send the required written notice advising the consumer of their rights under the FDCPA within five days of the initial contact. 

            In support of the motion to dismiss LUCAS and CAVALIER, LLC argued the debt collector never had any communications with plaintiff and instead directed all communications to plaintiff’s lawyers.  Additionally, within five days of the initial verbal communication, plaintiff’s attorney requested the debt be validated pursuant to 15 U.S.C. §1692g(b).  We advanced the novel argument plaintiff therefore reaped all of the benefits and protections of the FDCPA relieving the debt collector of the obligation to send the required notice.  Moreover, after the validation request was received, there were no additional collection efforts undertaken.

            The court dismissed the plaintiff’s complaint finding plaintiff failed to state a claim.  Significantly, the court held absent an allegation collection efforts continued after plaintiff’s validation request, there could be no violation of the FDCPA.

II.        Herrera v. Client Services, Inc.

            In Herrrea v. Client Services, Inc., plaintiff alleged the debt collector violated the FDCPA by failing to identify itself as a debt collector as required by the Act.  However, plaintiff admitted during the telephone call, the caller provided a reference number and a call back number.  Notably, the complaint failed to identify who the debt collector called because the call was placed to plaintiff’s counsel; not plaintiff directly.  The very next communication three days later was plaintiff’s counsel’s fax to the debt collector sending a power of attorney and a request to validate the debt. 

            In support of the motion to dismiss LUCAS and CAVALIER, LLC argued enough information was conveyed to plaintiff’s counsel for counsel to identify the debt collector and that the call was made in an attempt to collect a debt and any information obtained would be used for that purpose.  Plaintiff’s counsel has had numerous prior dealings with CSI.  The communication at issue was not false, deceptive, or misleading. 

            The court found plaintiff’s complaint failed to assert a cause of action under the FDCPA based on its failure to identify who received the initial call from the debt collector. 


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