Tatis v. Allied Interestate — consumer / FDCPA — reversal — Hardiman
The Third Circuit today held that sending a settlement letter for a time-barred debt can be actionable under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act even if the letter does not threaten legal action.
It’s a fascinating case for a few reasons:
- the counsel match-up was David vs. Goliath–a junior consumer lawyer against a past president of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers–and the junior lawyer won;
- the panel was composed of the Third Circuit’s three most conservative active judges, but it ruled in favor of the consumer; and
- the opinion was authored by Judge Hardiman, reportedly a Supreme court short-lister, and it pointedly disagreed with a dissenting opinion by another Supreme Court short-lister, Sixth Circuit Judge Kethledge.
Joining Hardiman were Chagares and Jordan. Arguing counsel were Ari Marcus of Yitzchak & Zelman for the consumer and James Martin of Reed Smith for the debt collector.