Collection Law Firm Prevails in “Meaningful Attorney Involvement” Lawsuit Brought by BCFP
Weltman, Weinberg & Reis Co. LPA says ruling vindicates the firm’s processes for demand letters.
7/30/2018 8:00 AM
Weltman, Weinberg & Reis Co. LPA issued the following statement and news release after the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio dismissed a lawsuit brought against the firm by the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection.
In a news release, Weltman announced that the firm prevailed in the lawsuit from the BCFP with Judge Donald C. Nugent finding on Weltman’s behalf and confirming that the BCFP’s lawsuit lacked merit.
“The court emphasized its finding ‘that lawyers were meaningfully involved disproves the plaintiff’s sole theory of liability, and precludes recovery under the complaint,’” according to the news release.
“The judge’s opinion thoroughly vindicates Weltman’s processes and is a complete rejection of the CFPB’s unfounded allegations,” Weltman Managing Partner Scott S. Weltman said in the news release. “The judge stressed that the CFPB ‘offered no evidence to show that any consumer was harmed by Weltman’s practice of identifying itself as a law firm in its demand letters,’ that ‘Weltman’s demand letters were truthful on their face,’ and that ‘Weltman attorneys were meaningfully and substantially involved in the debt collection process both before and after the issuance of the demand letters.’”
The bureau filed the lawsuit in Ohio federal district court in April 2017 accusing Weltman of using overly aggressive and illegal practices to intimidate consumers into paying debts when they would have not otherwise, ACA International previously reported. The bureau focused its case on the pre-suit collection activity the law firm performed on behalf of original creditors as well as debt buyers who purchased defaulted consumer debts. In its original complaint filed last year, the bureau alleged that Weltman’s attorneys were not meaningfully involved in reviewing consumer accounts, but sent demand letters and made collection calls falsely representing that attorneys were involved in collecting the debts. The bureau claimed that the firm’s misleading letters and calls, which misrepresented the level of attorney involvement in connection with the collection of millions of debts, deceived consumers in violation of both the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, ACA International previously reported.
Weltman defended the lawsuit, which included a four-day trial in May 2018, and maintained that, as a law firm, it is legally allowed, under federal and state law, to provide collection and legal services, and that the firm is being truthful with consumers and factually accurate when it uses its name and company letterhead for proper debt collection activity, according to its news release.
“Today’s court opinion is an affirmation of the confidence our law firm has maintained throughout the past three-and-a-half years in our operations and our employees,” Weltman said. “We would like to thank our valued clients for the their unwavering support, and we look forward to continuing to provide the same quality representation that has been a hallmark of our creditors’ rights firm for the past 88 years.”
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