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Analysis: Court Dismisses Claim over Current Creditor’s Name in Letter

My analysis, below, of the decision in Greifman v. Cawley & Bergmann, LLC, No. 18-cv-8784, 2019 WL 1533292 (S.D.N.Y. Apr. 9, 2019) was originally published in the April 26 edition of AccountsRecovery.net’s ARM Compliance Digest. Click here for more information on the case.

There are, in fact, limitations to the sort of tenuous (and perhaps feigned) consumer confusion sufficient to support an FDCPA claim for misidentification of a creditor under § 1692e—that’s the lesson of the Greifman decision. 

The collection letter, attached to and incorporated into the complaint, clearly identified both the original creditor (plaintiff’s credit card company) and the current creditor (a debt buyer). The plaintiff alleged that the letter was false and misleading because she never contracted with the debt buyer. But the court held that, even under the Second Circuit’s “least sophisticated consumer” test, the identification of the original creditor alongside the current creditor leaves no room for a plausible claim of confusion. 

The decision may serve as a valuable example in future cases that courts can, and should, outright dismiss such implausible claims at the pleading stage, saving litigants the cost and burden of discovery and additional briefing. 

Mark Rooney