It's completely legitimate for attorneys to educate consumers about their legal options - and to clearly call out potentially abusive debt collection practices.
Stamford, CT (PRWEB) June 30, 2014
With the pending dismissal of a defamation case brought by debt collector NCC Business Services, consumer attorney Sergei Lemberg is hailing a magistrate's ruling as a victory for the First Amendment and consumer rights. "This ruling empowers consumers by protecting the free flow of information over the Internet and leveling the playing field," he said.
A U.S. Magistrate Court judge has recommended dismissing NCC Business Services, Inc. v. Lemberg & Associates, LLC, which alleged that Lemberg had violated the law by publishing information about the debt collector on his StopCollector.com website.
The lawsuit alleged that the information about NCC Business Services published on StopCollector.com constituted unfair competition based on trademark infringement, defamation, and violations of the Lanham Act. The U.S. Magistrate Judge ruled that NCC Business Services' claim of trademark infringement was without merit: "[NCC Business Services] has failed to plausibly allege that [StopCollector.com] is likely to cause confusion about consumers because the website makes clear that it belongs to a law firm suing debt collectors...." The court similarly ruled that it would not cause confusion among NCC Business Services' potential clients. The court further asserted that criticizing or commenting upon the services of a trademark owner doesn't tarnish or blur the trademark.
The court also rejected NCC Business Services' accusation that the information on StopCollector.com defamed the company. The judge wrote that the debt collector didn't make its case: "Although [NCC Business Services] argues there are 'specific untrue and defamatory statements...on...stopcollector.com,' the allegations...and the exhibits...simply do not support this argument."
According to Lemberg, who has for three years running been named the "most active" consumer attorney by the debt collection industry, "There's now a bright line in the sand. It's completely legitimate for attorneys to educate consumers about their legal options - and to clearly call out potentially abusive debt collection practices."
NCC Business Services and Lemberg Law had 14 days from the date of the magistrate's recommendation (June 6, 2014) to object, after which a U.S. District Court judge will issue a final decision.
Lemberg concluded, "We share this victory with all consumer attorneys who shine the light on the debt collection industry and with all consumers who have been victimized by unsavory debt collection practices."
This release references NCC Business Services, Inc. v. Lemberg & Associates, LLC (U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida, 3:13-cv-795-J-39MCR).
About Lemberg Law
The attorneys at Lemberg Law represent consumers in Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, Telephone Consumer Protection Act, and lemon law cases, among others. Sergei Lemberg can brief you about the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, remedies available to consumers who are victims of cell phone robocalls, and other relevant issues.