The Arkansas Supreme Court has ruled that a consumer protection action brought by state Attorney General Dustin McDaniel against Bennett and DeLoney, PC–a Utah-based debt collection law firm–and its shareholders, Michael Bennett and Richard DeLoney is invalid. The original suit was filed in April 2008 under the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (ADTPA).
According to an article published March 27 on LegalNewsline.com, “The Court, in its March 15 opinion, reversed a circuit court’s order granting the State partial summary judgment and dismissed the case” finding that the Act does not apply to attorneys practicing law.
“In particular, McDaniel alleged that the firm violated the ADTPA by trying to collect penalties on dishonored checks greater than those amounts permitted under Arkansas Code,” Jessica M. Karmasek wrote in the LegalNewsline post.
Bennett & DeLoney appealed the circuit court ruling, contending that the ADTPA was not applicable to the legal services the firm provided.
Arkansas Supreme Court Justice Paul E. Danielson, co-author of the Court’s March 15 opinion, agreed and reversed the lower court’s judgement.
“Here, Bennett & DeLoney was a law firm that was practicing law, while engaged in the practice of debt collecting. Neither Bennett & DeLoney, nor Bennett or DeLoney, dispute the fact that they were practicing law; to the contrary, they concede that they were and the State does not contest their concession,” according to LegalNewswire.