June 1, 2021

RMAI Files Amicus Brief in Support of Hunstein Case Rehearing

Today, RMAI filed papers supporting a request made last week by Preferred Collection and Management Services, Inc. for a rehearing by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in Hunstein v. Preferred Collection and Management Services, Inc.

 As you know, that decision found that a consumer stated a claim under the FDCPA arising from a debt collector’s electronic transmittal of information to its letter vendor.

Should the request be granted, either the panel that rendered the decision or all the judges of the Eleventh Circuit will then hear argument on why Hunstein was wrongly decided.

“This is an important step in addressing the substantial disruption this decision has caused our members,” said Jan Stieger, RMAI executive director. “Our members use letter vendors to enhance the accuracy and integrity of their letter processes, a legitimate practice aimed to benefit consumers.”

Consistent with the requirements to support a request for rehearing, RMAI’s brief makes two points:

  • The Circuit has construed the FDCPA to prohibit abusive conduct, not legitimate practices and the use of a letter vendor is such a permitted, legitimate practice; and,
  • The Circuit departed from its prior decisional law by incorrectly identifying the “harm” that caused it to find that the consumer had standing to sue.

Although the court’s rules limited RMAI’s brief to 2,600 words, our brief relies on decisional law stretching back nearly 80 years, as well as Federal Trade Commission guidance from 1986, to persuasively explain the Hunstein decision’s conflict with Supreme Court, Eleventh Circuit and regulatory interpretations.

A copy of the brief is available here. A decision on whether the court will rehear its decision is expected within 90 days.

What You Can Do
RMAI asks that members who are served with Hunstein-type complaints contact RMAI Executive Director, Jan Stieger at jstieger@rmaintl.org  and RMAI General Counsel, David Reid at dreid@rmaintl.org. Please provide a copy of the complaint and reference “Hunstein Litigation” in the subject line.