This Note will explain and analyze the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and its case law. It will also discuss the interplay between the FDCPA case law and its ethical overtones. To understand the basis of this issue, Part II of this Note will begin by briefly developing the history and background of the FDCPA and discuss specific sections of the law designed to protect debtors from abusive debt collection practices. Notably, these sections relate to the prevention of improper practices for misleading debtors, and are the focus of the lawsuits that this Note will discuss. Accordingly, Part III will briefly discuss what a dunning letter is and the similarities of the two standards of review used by the federal courts of appeals to determine whether a dunning letter is misleading. Part IV of this Note will discuss the judicially created doctrine of “meaningful involvement” and how the federal courts have allowed attorneys to include an appropriate disclosure of the level of involvement. Part V of this Note will discuss the Ethics Opinion in detail and its resulting impact on disclaiming attorney involvement. Specifically, this Note will address the direct conflict between the Ethics Opinion and federal case law, which allows attorneys to disclaim their involvement when sending an initial communication under the FDCPA. Finally, Part VI will propose a solution to resolve the conflict between the varying case law and the ethical issues presented.
Recommended CitationJeffrey S. Peters, Meaningful Involvement in Collections: Should Ethics or the FDCPA Govern?, 34 Pace L. Rev. 1240 (2014)
Available at: http://digitalcommons.pace.edu/plr/vol34/iss3/7