The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit recently held in a split decision that attorneys garnishing a debtor do not make a “false, deceptive or misleading representation” under the Federal Debt Collection Practices Act when their representations of law are later proven wrong, so long as they represent a reasonable interpretation of the law.
In essence, only representations not “warranted under existing law”—the threshold for sanctions under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 11—would also trigger liability for the attorney under the FDCPA. In this FDCPA appeal, Van Hoven v. Buckles & Buckles, No. 18-2399, the plaintiff defaulted on a credit card and the credit card company hired Buckles & Buckles to collect the debt. After losing the collections lawsuit, Maureen Van Hoven still failed to pay.
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