When a law firm’s letterhead appears on a debt collection letter, it may be deemed misleading if no lawyer has yet reviewed the debtor’s file and the firm is not truly poised to file a lawsuit, a federal appeals court has ruled.

In Lesher v. Law Offices of Mitchell N. Kay , the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals voted 2-1 to uphold a lower court’s ruling that said two letters from a New York lawyer amounted to clear violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act because the use of law firm letterhead gave the false impression that a lawyer was working on the case and planning to sue.

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