In July 2013, the ACA International Board of Directors approved initiatives to protect the long term viability of the credit and collection industry. These efforts are funded by a three-year Industry Advancement Fund assessment.

ACA International is pleased to announce the release of its Judicial Advocacy Report, marking the association’s first full year of advocacy in the judicial branch on behalf of the credit and collection industry as part of ACA’s Industry Advancement Program.

ACA’s Industry Advancement Program was implemented a little more than a year ago, and within that short period of time ACA has already supported 20 cases involving important legal issues affecting the stability and integrity of the association and the credit and collection industry. Of these 20 cases supported through the Industry Advancement Program, nine cases received financial assistance to help defray member litigation or appeal expenses. ACA also filed amicus (“friend of the court”) briefs in another 11 cases with decisions that could have a substantial impact on ACA members and the credit and collection industry.

Additionally, the 20 cases supported by the Industry Advancement Program, to date, include an equal number of Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and Telephone Consumer Protection Act cases, followed by several cases involving member litigation against meritless and frivolous claims filed in a broad cross-section of courts across the country.

Also, in a pending petition for writ of certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court (a formal request for the Supreme Court to hear and review a case) in the case of Spokeo Inc. v. Thomas Robins, ACA filed an amicus brief asking the court to clarify whether a plaintiff has standing to sue for violations of a federal statute when the plaintiff suffers no economic loss or other tangible harm but merely seeks statutory damages for the alleged violation. The issue in this “no injury” Robins case also often arises in “no injury” FDCPA and TCPA cases—where courts allow the recovery of statutory damages and attorneys’ fees for mere technical violations of statute that do not cause any injury-in-fact to the consumer. The Supreme Court is set to consider the petition filed in Robins during an April 17, 2015, conference.

In addition, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments yesterday (April 7, 2015) in the case of Kubler Corporation d/b/a Alternative Recovery Mgmt v. Diaz. In Kubler, ACA filed a joint amicus brief urging the Ninth Circuit to reverse the district court’s decision that California law does not permit a creditor without a contractual interest provision to claim and collect interest prior to a court awarding pre-judgment interest.

ACA anticipates that the Robins and Kubler cases, along with several other new judicial advocacy efforts initiated since the launch of the Industry Advancement Program, will generate decisions, ideally in favor of the industry, sometime this year.

“Decisions handed down by state, federal district and appellate courts, as well as state and federal agencies, affect how every ACA member conducts business,” said Robert L. Föehl, ACA’s vice president and general counsel. “ACA’s growing engagement in litigation is critical to shaping the legal landscape for the credit and collection industry. Our goal is to develop a true, clear voice for the credit and collection industry.”

ACA members can view the Industry Advancement Program Judicial Advocacy Report–March 2015 Update by visiting the Industry Advancement Program website. ACA will update the Judicial Advocacy Report throughout the year to keep members informed about ACA’s new and ongoing judicial advocacy initiatives and accomplishments, which are geared toward ensuring court cases result in judicial decisions that are governed by common sense, are clear and consistent, and do not unfairly impede legitimate industry business and activity.

ACA’s efforts to proactively advocate for the industry are part of ACA’s Industry Advancement Program and are made possible by funding supported by ACA’s Industry Advancement Fund. Through ACA’s Industry Advancement Program, ACA identifies and engages in legal proceedings that affect the credit and collection industry. ACA participates in both state and federal cases, including at the appellate level, giving the credit and collection industry an opportunity to weigh in on important legal issues and highlight for courts the importance and potential industry-wide consequences of legal issues before them.

Archives of ACA Daily articles on the cases supported by the Industry Advancement Program are available for members to read on the program’s website. There will be updates when decisions are issued in these cases and more information about new cases supported by the Industry Advancement Program in ACA Daily and on the program’s website throughout the year. ACA members must be logged on to the website to view updates.

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