E.D.N.Y. Rips Into Plaintiffs’ Bar on Reverse Avila Claims

The Eastern District of New York issued a scathing opinion about reverse Avila claims and issued a crushing blow to the plaintiffs' bar in the decision for Kraus v. Professional Collections Bureau of Maryland, Inc., 2017 WL 6398744 (E.D.N.Y. Nov. 27, 2017). The decision (read it here) provides an excellent policy argument regarding the absurdity of reverse Avila claims and how they have morphed the FDCPA from a shield to a sword for consumers. The decision also finds that a settlement offer letter with a deadline satisfies Avila’s requirement to clearly state that a specific amount paid by a specific date would satisfy the debt. 

Most importantly, the court flat-out said what the industry has been saying for years regarding the plaintiffs' bar’s abuse of the FDCPA: 

While the Court struggles to see how Avila protects consumers, little imagination is required to envision how the plaintiffs' bar will make use of it. During oral argument, plaintiff's counsel advised the Court that many cases have been filed as a result of the Avila decision. No doubt this is true. But are those cases serving to root out genuine instances of debt-collection abuse? Or are they, instead, serving largely to facilitate debt evasion and to prop profits among the plaintiffs' bar? With the FDCPA, Congress intended to “arm[ ] consumers with a shield against the overly zealous debt collector.” The Court worries that, by carrying the least-sophisticated-consumer standard and strict liability to an illogical extreme, this circuit has fashioned that shield into a sword.(Citations omitted.)

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