The amicus brief identifies key points not considered in the ruling. Editor’s note: This article is available for members only.
A vendor coalition including 12 independent businesses filed an amicus brief in Hunstein v. Preferred Collection and Management Services Inc., stating the vendors “share an interest in preserving a debt collector’s ability to act through an agency to produce and deliver important correspondence to consumers.”
The coalition issued a statement and summary of the brief:
Following the 11th Circuit’s panel decision in Hunstein v. Preferred Collection and Management Services, Inc., the Print & Mail Coalition (the “coalition”) filed an amicus brief in support of the defendant’s petition for a rehearing en banc. The coalition represents 12 independent businesses specializing in the production and delivery of printed and electronic collection communications.
The coalition’s amicus brief addresses two oversights by the panel which, left uncorrected, would leave intact a significant misreading of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and eliminate the print and mail industry—and other service providers—from servicing debt collectors. The issues raised by the coalition are:
- Whether the panel erred by accepting, without consideration, the parties’ legal conclusion that Preferred engaged in a communication with CompuMail. The coalition’s argument is that CompuMail is not a person under the statute, but a medium through which collectors convey debt information.
- Whether the panel decision overlooked Regulation F and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s interpretation of the FDCPA as not prohibiting a debt collector’s use of a print and mail vendor.
The brief explains that the print and mail industry serves as an important communication conduit between businesses and consumers, and acts as an extension of operations for corporate America and the U.S. Postal Service. Additionally, the coalition asserts that panel’s decision imposes significant harm to millions of consumers, who rely on written correspondence from debt collectors about their credit transactions, repayment obligations, their legal rights, and credit reporting consequences.
The deadline for amicus briefs to be filed is June 1, 2021. However, there is no specified date or timeline for the court to rule on the defendant’s request for rehearing or review of the amicus briefs.
The amici, represented by counsel for Amici Curiae John Bedard Jr. and Michael K. Chapman, Bedard Law Group, P.C., are leaders in the letter, data, and print processing industry, which produce and deliver more than 2.7 billion unique pieces of physical mail to consumers annually. The coalition members serve a wide range of business sectors of the American economy, including the financial, banking, health care, insurance, education, hospitality, telecommunications, utility, manufacturing, legal, entertainment, accounts receivable, marketing, and public sectors.
ACA International is continuing to monitor copycat cases and will provide updates for members on the Hunstein Resource Center. Resources include a primer on the case, the case status, an interactive case tracker map from WebRecon and information on how to respond to lawsuits.