After 11th Circuit FDCPA Decision: ACA Reminds Members of Industry Advancement Fund Resources


The IAF and the matching funds program support members in need of litigation resources. Editor’s note: This article is available for members only.

5/18/2021 12:00

ACA International’s Industry Advancement Fund (IAF) has grown to become a potent force for industry advocacy.

After the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals issued an opinion in Hunstein v. Preferred Collection and Management Services Inc. holding the transmission of a consumer’s personal information to a letter vendor constitutes an alleged violation of the third-party disclosure prohibition in the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, ACA reminds members of the litigation resources available through the IAF.

The IAF serves to support members in individual litigation; to intervene wherever and whenever needed as an amicus curiae (friend of the court); and to fund special legislative and regulatory advocacy initiatives when appropriate.

ACA’s Corporate Counsel Colin Winkler and members Angela Brown, counsel at Gray Reed, and Robbie Malone, owner, Malone, Frost Martin PLLC, recently provided an overview of the IAF member resource and matching funds program.

A recording of the Hot Topic webinar is available here.

Winkler, Richard Perr, co-managing partner at Kaufman Dolowich Voluck, and Michael Klutho, shareholder at Bassford Remele, recently held a Hot Topic webinar on the Hunstein case and what it means for agencies, letter vendors and the accounts receivable management Industry. A recording is available here.

“The purpose of the IAF is to help the industry resist any misguided judicial approaches to industry issues and cases involving the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the Fair Credit Reporting Act as well as push back against a growing trend of frivolous lawsuits and spurious claims,” Winkler said.

ACA’s Judicial Committee has standing authority to award an ACA member up to $25,000 in traditional IAF support, subject to certain conditions set forth in the application (e.g., funds may not be used to settle litigation, as that would be contrary to the purposes of the IAF). In reviewing applications for traditional IAF support, ACA’s Judicial Committee will consider whether the case has industry-wide significance; the likelihood of success on the merits; the parties involved; the jurisdiction; the relevant history of the case; and other factors set out in the application, which can be found on the Industry Advancement Fund page on ACA’s website.

Another primary focus of the IAF has been funding ACA’s participation in appellate cases as an amicus curiae. (Amicus participation in trial-level cases can be done with the court’s permission, but it’s most often seen in appellate cases.)

In these matters, ACA’s goal is to provide judges with industry perspectives and facts on critical and often difficult to understand interpretations of law. This allows ACA to be a voice for the ARM industry even in cases in which ACA or its members have no direct interest.

Over the years, ACA has provided amicus support in many cases involving ACA members and even in cases involving non-members, where the issues plainly had a nexus with industry interests.

The newest initiative under the IAF, the matching funds program, aims to provide members with financial support up to $10,000 for cases that do not rise to the level of “industry-wide significance,” but that nonetheless merit support.

If you have questions or want to nominate a case for amicus support, email Colin Winkler at [email protected].

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