Back in April, insideARM wrote about how a specific subset of Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) claims continues to fall flat in the Eastern District of New York (E.D.N.Y.). The claim in questions—typically filed by a very specific plaintiffs' counsel firm—allege that the placement of the validation notice in collection letters overshadows the consumer's validation rights. Well, the trend of dismissals of these types of claims continues. 


The most recent case to dismiss these allegations is Taylor v. Am. Coradius Int'l (E.D.N.Y. Aug. 5, 2020). The validation letter included federal disclosures, such as the notice of validation rights, in the running text on the front page of the letter and state disclosures on the back. The typical allegations arose, as summarized by the court: 

According to Plaintiff, the validation notice is “burie[d]” in the letter because it is presented in “running text” with “the same font size, style, color and case as the rest of text, in the body of the Letter,”without any transitional language calling the reader toward the notice, . Making matters worse (Plaintiff claims), the letter draws the reader’s attention away from the validation notice by making other parts of the letter more conspicuous — specifically, by directing the reader in bold, all-caps text to “see second page for important information,” , and by listing the “online payment information in an underlined typeface within a box” containing “various other means of making such payment.”

(Internal citations omitted.) 

According to the court, the following factors weighed heavily in its decision to dismiss this claim:

  • The notice appears on the front page of the letter;
  • The notice is in the same black font as the surrounding text; and
  • The notice is legible and uncontradicted so that the least sophisticated consumer would not be uncertain about his rights.

In dismissing the case, the court noted that plaintiff's reliance on two specific Second Circuit Court of Appeals cases—Clomon (1993) and Swanson (1988)—fails. The substance of the Swanson letter contradicted the text of the validation notice, which is not an issue here. The notice in Clomon contained contradictory and threatening language, which is also not present here.

The court also added this nugget, showing the trend in dismissals of these cases:

Outside this line of cases, courts routinely dismiss overshadowing claims like the one Plaintiff makes here. Indeed, the Northern District of New York recently dismissed the same claim against a functionally identical letter, explaining that: “Plaintiff did not need to go to the second page for important information to get the statutorily required warnings; they were on the first page. The information on the second page did not contradict those statements, but instead amplified the rights that Plaintiff had in the debt collection process.” Other courts have reached similar conclusions. The same reasoning applies here. Neither the direction to “see [the] second page” nor the box containing online payment information improperly “overshadows” the validation notice in this letter.

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insideARM Perspective

Using the iA Case Law Tracker, we were able to easily pull 11 other court decisions in E.D.N.Y. that dismissed almost identical claims filed by this same plaintiffs' counsel firm. Want to read the specifics of these cases, see which judges dismissed them, and be the first to know if/when the Second Circuit rules on the claims? The iA Case Law Tracker lets you do that in just a few clicks, and we offer a free trial! Click here to learn more and sign up.

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