CFPB files SCOTUS amicus brief in FDCPA case on filing bankruptcy proof of claim on time-barred debt

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The CFPB has filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in support of the respondent/consumer in Midland Funding, LLC v. Aleida Johnson, a decision of the Eleventh Circuit that held Midland’s alleged filing of an accurate proof of claim in the consumer’s bankruptcy case on a time-barred debt violated the FDCPA.

In its brief, the CFPB argues that the Supreme Court should reject Midland’s arguments that the filing of a proof of claim that is accurate (i.e. provides correct information about an unpaid debt) but is for a debt that is time-barred does not violate the FDCPA, and even if the filing does violate the FDCPA, the Bankruptcy Code (Code) would preclude such application of the FDCPA.  According to the CFPB, nothing in the Code allows a creditor to legitimately file a proof of claim that it knows is subject to disallowance under the Code because it is time-barred.  The CFPB also argues that because a debt collector implicitly represents that it has a good faith basis to believe its claim is enforceable in bankruptcy when it files a proof of claim, the filing is misleading and unfair in violation of the FDCPA when the collector knows the claim is time-barred and therefore unenforceable in bankruptcy.

With respect to Midland’s preclusion argument, the CFPB asserts that Code does not preclude an FDCPA action based on the filing of a proof of claim for a time-barred debt.  According to the CFPB, treating Midland’s alleged conduct as an FDCPA violation would not penalize Midland for conduct the Code authorizes and would not otherwise create any conflict between the FDCPA and the Code.

 

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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