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Supreme Court building. February 7, 2007. Credit: Diego M. Radzinschi/LEGAL TIMES. Supreme Court building. February 7, 2007. Credit: Diego M. Radzinschi/LEGAL TIMES.

On March 20, 2019, the Supreme Court handed down its decision in Obduskey v. McCarthy & Holthus, which sought to end a debate about whether the enforcement of security interests by non-judicial foreclosure is considered “debt collection” within the meaning of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), 15 U.S.C. §1692 et seq. Justice Breyer, writing for a unanimous court, upheld the lower courts’ determinations that the foreclosing law firm in a non-judicial foreclosure was doing “no more than” enforcement of a security instrument and was thus not a covered “debt collector.” Although the Justice’s conclusion is based on a straight forward textual analysis, it is overly academic, detached from the realities of debt collection, and misses the obvious intent of this important consumer protection law.

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