On November 4, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in Dow v. Frontline Asset Strategies affirmed the September 24, 2018 Order of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, which granted defendant Frontline’s motion for judgment on the pleadings. In its opinion, the Court reiterated its prior ruling from Taylor v. Fin. Recovery Servs, Inc., 886 F.3d 212 (2d Cir. 2018), which held that “a collection notice that fails to disclose that interest and fees are not currently accruing on a debt is not misleading within the meaning of Section 1692e [of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act].” 886 F.3d at 215.
Plaintiff Marlyn Dow had alleged that a collection letter which stated “as of the date of this letter, you owe $919.03,” and as part of the debt itemization included “$0.00” for interest accrued and charges could erroneously mislead a consumer that the debt was dynamic rather than static.
The Court’s ruling was succinct – “we do not find the notice to be misleading here given that these lines reflect $0 in interest or fees and charges had accrued.” And the fact that a date was included in the notice had no effect on the Court’s decision. The Court characterized such language as “stock language . . . present in a number of collection notices.”
Not only was the Court quick to shut the door on Dow’s arguments, it essentially locked the door and threw away the key by stressing that Dow’s position could ultimately hurt consumers. The Court stressed that “requiring debt collectors to draw attention to the static nature of a debt could incentivize collectors to make debts dynamic instead of static.”