Federal Judge Allows CFPB Case Against Debt Collection Law Firm to Move Forward


10/6/2017 3:51:00 PM

The case against Weltman, Weinberg & Reis stems from pre-litigation activities the CFPB deemed to be unfair and deceptive practices to collect delinquent bills owed by consumers.

NewsCFPB

A Consumer Financial Protection Bureau case against an Ohio-based debt collection law firm will continue after U.S. District Judge Donald C. Nugent denied a motion for judgment on the pleadings from the company.

The CFPB’s case, filed in an Ohio federal district court, accuses Weltman, Weinberg & Reis Co., LPA. of using overly aggressive and illegal practices to intimidate consumers into paying debts when they would have not otherwise, ACA International previously reported.

In his ruling, Nugent said the Bureau has sufficiently pled its Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the 2010 Consumer Financial Protect Act claims related to its alleged mispresentation of the level of attorney involvement in collection letters it sent using the firm’s letterhead and calls it made to consumers requesting payment.   

In a statement ACA International obtained from Weltman, Weinberg & Reis Co., LPA following Nugent’s decision, the collection law firm says, “it maintains its position that the CFPB’s lawsuit is without merit. Our firm will continue to vigorously defend against the suit, and we look forward to our day in court. We have every confidence in our position as an institution with an 87-year history of honest, ethical, and compliant collection practices. Additionally, we continue to appreciate the overwhelming support we have received from our clients and the debt collection and legal communities.”

The CFPB’s focus in the case rests with 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 complaint, the CFPB alleges that Weltman Weinberg’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, ACA previously reported.

The CFPB claims that Weltman Weinberg’s misleading letters and calls, which misrepresented the level of attorney involvement in connection with the collection of millions of dollars in debts, deceived consumers in violation of both the FDCPA and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. 

Weltman Weinberg also argued in its motion for judgment on the pleadings that the Bureau's claims against it are barred by the statute of limitations. The district court refused to take up the statute of limitations issue at this time and, instead, told the parties they could revisit it later on summary judgment. 

The CFPB is seeking compensation for consumers, a civil fine, and an injunction against Weltman Weinberg. 

If you want to read more about the most recent significant cases and judicial decisions involving the credit and collection industry, ACA members can always find concise case summaries on ACA’s Industry Advance Program website.

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