Having previously defeated a New Jersey debt collection law firm's, Russell P. Goldman, PC's ("RPG") motion to dismiss, and after extensive discovery over the course of three and half years, Jones, Wolf & Kapasi, LLC ("JWK") defeated RPG's motion for summary judgment in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey based on violations of 15 U.S.C. 1692 et seq., the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act ("FDCPA"). In addition, a class was certified on behalf of over 400 New Jersey consumers, who received the same debt collection letter from RPG as Plaintiffs, and JWK attorneys Joseph K. Jones and Benjamin J. Wolf were appointed Class Counsel.
In this matter, JWK represents two New Jersey consumers in a class action case alleging violations of the FDCPA wherein RPG sent the consumers a misleading and deceptive debt collection letter attempting to collect a New Jersey student loan debt along with "collection costs". Plaintiffs argued that these "collection costs" were, in reality, RPG's contingency fee with the State of New Jersey, and had not been incurred by RPG at the time it sent the debt collection letters to Plaintiffs. As stated by the Court:
"Here...Plaintiffs signed promissory notes in favor of HESAA, which stated, 'I will pay all charges, collection costs and all other costs that are permitted under this Note for the collection of this loan, which the lender or subsequent holder of the Promissory Note incurs in collecting this loan.' However, no fees or costs had actually been incurred as of the date Plaintiffs received the June 27 Letters. Plaintiffs agreed only to pay costs incurred; they did not agree to pay a prospective or estimated fee. Because the terms of the promissory notes only required Plaintiffs to pay fees 'incurred' and no such fees were incurred, Goldman violated § 1692e(2)(A), (10) and § 1692f, (f)(1) by stating in the June 27 Letters, 'There remains due a balance as shown above, which includes interest and collection costs.' In stating a balance was due, which included collection costs, Goldman misrepresented 'the character, amount or legal status of any debt' and used 'unfair or unconscionable means to collect or attempt to collect any debt.' " (internal citations omitted)(emphasis added)
The case is Brian P. Carney and William C. Gumpper, Jr. v Russell P. Goldman, PC, 3:15-260 (BRM)(DEA) and the Court's Opinion can be read here.
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