Practice Groups

Consumer Law Defense

On a state and national scale, Bassford Remele has defended financial institutions, creditors, collection agencies, attorneys, hospitals, and other businesses facing consumer-protection lawsuits. During the last 25 years, we have handled thousands of these cases brought under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), Telephone Consumer Practices Act (TCPA), and other consumer-protection statutes, as well as claims brought by government regulators against clients in the credit and collection industry.

Bassford Remele has become a go-to firm in this area of the law, handling cutting-edge and class-action suits that shape the law. We regularly present at local, regional, and national conferences on consumer-law topics, publish articles to keep clients up to date on the latest issues and trends, and provide valuable risk-management advice across the credit and collection industry. As dedicated supporters of creditors’ rights, we have the knowledge and experience to guide clients through the complex compliance regulations issued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the industry’s leading regulator.

Representative Cases

Represented an agency in an appeal on two consolidated claims based on the allegation that language in letters was false or misleading, successfully affirming dismissal at the Seventh Circuit on grounds that consumers lacked Article III standing because they failed to present any evidence of claimed harm.

Represented a Fortune 500 Company, obtaining dismissal of state law invasion of privacy claims in an FCRA action on the grounds that the federal statute preempted the state law claims against a data furnisher.

Represented a collection agency, securing dismissal of a putative FDCPA class action where challenged letters listed an account with a zero balance because even the unsophisticated consumer is capable of performing simple math.

Represented a collection agency, obtaining dismissal in an FDCPA action premised on the alleged misidentification of a creditor.

Represented a collection agency in an appeal to the Seventh Circuit in a certified FDCPA class action, successfully overturning the trial court judgment that a collection letter failed to state the amount of the debt for lack of an explicit interest disclosure on the grounds that the consumers lacked Article III standing because they failed to present any evidence of the claimed harm.

Represented a collection law firm, obtaining a voluntary dismissal of an attorney meaningful involvement claim and summary judgment on a consumer FDCPA claim alleging that the law firm failed to verify the debt before executing on the judgment.

Represented a collection agency, securing a dismissal of a consumer's claim that the FDCPA prohibited a collection agency from informing the consumer that the collection agency may submit a negative tradeline to the Credit Reporting Agencies. Plaintiff claimed that a prior collection agency's reporting on the same account prohibited the subsequent agency from reporting. The Court agreed that the new collection agency had the right to submit a negative tradeline of its own, regardless of whether another party has previously reported a tradeline for the same obligation.

Represented a law firm, obtaining a judgment on the pleadings establishing that the FDCPA, in relevant part, does not apply to attorneys representing landlords in eviction actions.

Represented a collection agency at the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, successfully obtaining an opinion affirming the district court’s order dismissing the plaintiff's FDCPA claims on the grounds that the challenged letter was not unfair or deceptive and the interest sought was permitted.

Represented a collection agency in district court, ultimately obtaining an affirmance of the district court’s order dismissing the plaintiff’s FDCPA claims; the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals held in a matter of first impression that a materiality standard applies to claims of deception under the FDCPA. Hill, 888 F.3d 343 (8th Cir. 2018).

Represented a law firm in district court and on appeal, winning summary judgment and judgment on the pleadings in an alleged unlawful attorney-fee collection and unlawful levy/garnishment practices claim.

Represented a collection agency, obtaining summary judgment in a case alleging the agency’s voicemail was a third-party communication in violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Zortman, 870 F. Supp. 2d 694 (D. Minn. 2012).

Represented a collection agency, winning a motion for judgment on the pleadings in a case alleging the agency’s validation notice, creditworthiness opinions, and misrepresentations violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

Represented a collection agency, winning a motion to dismiss because the agency was not acting as a debt collector under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, as the debt was not in default.

Represented a collection agency on appeal, obtaining a decision reversing a federal district court order granting class certification on claims involving the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Powers, 776 F.3d 567 (8th Cir. 2015).

Represented a collection agency in district court and on appeal, obtaining a motion to dismiss in a case involving the alleged failure to advise of the possible tax consequences of accepting a reduced offer of a delinquent account. Altman, 786 F.3d 191 (2d Cir. 2015).

Represented a collection agency in district court and on appeal, winning summary judgment based on the bona fide error defense in a putative class action for alleged violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Wilhelm, 519 F.3d 416 (8th Cir. 2008).

Represented a collection agency in district court and on appeal, winning summary judgment when the creditor did not relay that the debtor was represented by a lawyer, establishing a creditor’s knowledge is not imputed to a collection agency. This was the first case to address this issue in the Eighth Circuit. Schmitt, 398 F.3d 995 (8th Cir. 2005).

Represented a collection agency in district court and on appeal, obtaining dismissal of claims alleging the language and/or symbols on transmitting collection notices violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Strand, 380 F.3d 316 (8th Cir. 2004).

Represented a collection agency in district court, winning summary judgment in a case claiming the collection agency continued communications with the plaintiffs after receiving a cease-and-desist letter, allegedly violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the Kansas Consumer Protection Act. Udell, 313 F. Supp. 2d 1135 (D. Kan. 2004).

accolades

2020 Metropolitan Tier 1 Firm in the area of Professional Malpractice Law
Martindale-Hubbell
Bassford Remele rated AV Preeminent® by Martindale-Hubbell®
ACA International, Inc.
Michael Klutho received the Fred Kirschner Instructor Achievement Award
ACA International, Inc.
Michael Klutho, Christopher Morris, and Jessica Klander achieved the Scholar designation
International Association of Defense Counsel
Michael Klutho and Steve Sitek are elected members