Utah Supreme Court holds federal Fair Debt Practices Act is a strict liability statute.

Gonzalez v Cullimore

Gonzalez appealed summary judgment to Cullimore on her Fair Debt Collection Practices Act claim. The Court reversed and remanded. It held the Utah Court of Appeals Midland Funding decision (which held the Act is not a strict liability statute) relied upon by the district court was wrongly decided as it failed to characterize 15 USC 1692e as a strict liability statute and created a defense of reliance on a law firms client and abrogated it reasoning Midland financing relied on a 9th Circuit case involving 15 USC 1692g d which actually declared 1692e to be a strict liability statute and a district court opinion which incorrectly applied the 1692g standard to a 1692e claim and strict liability is required by the plain language of the Act as otherwise the bona fide error defense in 15 USC 1692k would be superfluous and Midland financing goes against the overwhelming majority positon adopted by the Court in this case. It held summary judgment was error under the correct standard announced here as Cullimore did not prove there was no genuine dispute about the material fact of whether the amount owed to a condominium association asserted in a demand letter was false, noted Cullimore did not plead bona fide error as an alternative ground for victory, and may have waived the bona fide defense but left that issue to district court on remand with a reminder amended pleadings are favored in Utah.