Case Conclusion Date: March 9, 2012
Practice Area: Debt Collection
Outcome: Summary Judgment Denied in favor of Consumer
Description: Ms. Hormozdi represented the Consumers, Matilda & Paul Salazar. Federal District Court from the Middle District of Florida denied debt collector's attempt to dismiss consumer's claim. Matilda Salazar sent Financial Credit Services, a debt collector, a letter exercising her right und...er the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) to have the debt collector cease communication with her upon being notified to stop in writing. Despite having received this letter, the debt collector continued to send Mrs. Salazar collection letters. The debt collector moved for summary judgment, asking for the case to be dismissed, contending there was no question of fact for a jury to resolve. The debt collect argued that it did not violate the cease and desist demand because it opened a new account on the debt, or, alternatively, the bona fide error defense absolved it from liability as a matter of law because it had reasonable procedures in place to prevent this FDCPA violation. On March 9, 2012, in Salazar v. Financial Credit Services (8:10-cv-02634-VMC-TBM). the Court disagreed and found that there was a genuine dispute of material fact for a jury to resolve as to whether the debt collector violated the cease and desist demand or, alternatively, committed a bona fide error. The Court essentially disagreed with the debt collector's argument that it committed a bona fide error as a matter of law because the collection account was closed when it received Mrs. Salazar's letter and that the subsequent letters were sent when the collector later opened a new account to collect on the same debt. The Court found there was evidence that there were further measures the debt collector could have taken to prevent the subsequent collection letters and, accordingly, a jury could conclude that the debt collector's procedures were not reasonably adapted to avoid violations of the FDCPA in this situation.