U.S. District Court Grants Class Certification in Debt Collection Case Against PRA (Portfolio Recovery)

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The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York has granted the plaintiff's motions for summary judgment and class certification in Zimmerman v. Portfolio Recovery Associates, LLC.

Fair debt attorney Sergei Lemberg

Fair debt attorney Sergei Lemberg

"We are pleased that the Court ruled in our favor, granting summary judgment in favor of 990 consumers victimized by Portfolio Recovery Associates."

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York has granted the plaintiff's motions for summary judgment and class certification in Zimmerman v. Portfolio Recovery Associates, LLC. According to Jason Zimmerman's attorney, Sergei Lemberg, "We are pleased that the Court ruled in our favor, granting summary judgment in favor of 990 consumers victimized by Portfolio Recovery Associates."

The facts of the case revolve around a debt collection "Pre-Suit Package" that was sent under Portfolio Recovery Associates "Litigation Department" letterhead and included a cover letter, as well as documents that appeared to be a "lawsuit," including a "Summons" and a "Complaint" that referenced the District Court of the County of Nassau, First District, and listed Zimmerman as the defendant. The cover letter said, in part, "Enclosed please find a copy of the lawsuit our local counsel in your state intends to file against you related to the delinquent account referenced above." However, a closer examination of the papers revealed that the Pre-Suit Package did not contain actual legal papers, but rather were simulated legal papers made to look real.

The Court found that Portfolio Recovery Associates violated provisions of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) relating to "[t]he use or distribution of any written communication which simulates or is falsely represented to be a document authorized, issued, or approved by any court...of the United States..., or which creates a false impression as to its source, authorization, or approval," or which constitutes "[t]he false representation or implication that documents are legal process. " The Court's opinion stated, "The 'least sophisticated consumer' might well conclude that Defendant had initiated a lawsuit to collect the debt, given the form of the Summons and Complaint, the reference to the court and parties...and the fact that an attorney from Portfolio's "Litigation Department" had signed the cover letter.

Lemberg said, "The law unequivocally prohibits debt collection agencies from sending official-looking documents that lead consumers to believe that they are being sued; it is quite surprising that the practice persists." Noting that it would be cumbersome for the 990 consumers affected by Portfolio Recovery Associates' "Pre-Suit Package" to individually pursue actions against the debt collector, Lemberg applauded the Court's decision to grant class certification. "We look forward to obtaining money for all of the consumers who were impacted by PRA's actions."

This release references Zimmerman v. Portfolio Recovery Associates, LLC (U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, 1:09-cv-04602-PGG).

About Lemberg & Associates, LLC
The attorneys at Lemberg & Associates, LLC practice in New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Ohio, Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, California, Maryland, Illinois, and Washington, D.C. Sergei Lemberg can brief you about the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, remedies available to consumers who are victims of debt collector harassment, and other relevant issues.

For more information, contact:
Sergei Lemberg
Lemberg & Associates, LLC
slemberg (at) lemberglaw.com
http://www.StopCollector.com
http://www.LembergLaw.com
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