To bring everyone up-to-date, this blog is about my experiences (as a non-attorney) suing Bank of America in court. While mostly a history, I’ve just recently started to write about the things I’ve learned about our legal system along the way.
In my first “lesson,” I described how laws vary by jurisdiction, and how appellate courts determine what a law means in your area. You may be wondering why this should matter to you. Today, I’ll share one example from my case that illuminates this topic.
Most of the letters I received from Bank of America leading up to my case, included a clause that read “Under the federal Fair Debt Collections Practices Act and certain state laws, Bank of America is considered a debt collector.”
So you’d think they’d be considered a debt collector under the Act, correct?
Well in my circuit, you’d be wrong.
In my case at least, the judge has found (so far) that sending a letter like this does not mean that Bank of America is a debt collector under the Act. You see, the Act has a very specific definition of the term “debt collector,” and certain loan servicers can be exempted.
We’ve argued that the loan servicing industry has changed substantially since the law was written, and that the actions of Bank of America are clearly as a debt collector in this case. Three other circuits, it turns out, have begun to agree with us on piercing these protections.
We are currently waiting on a ruling on this (and other) issues.
If we lose, we will need to appeal to get a ruling on this at the circuit court level. If we win that one, we can change the way this law is applied throughout the three-state area.
In either case, this issue highlights the importance of understanding what a law means in your jurisdiction. It also highlights how all legal progress is made at the appellate level … and how it can take years to accomplish.
As always, comments welcome.
Until next time.