Practice Group | Bassford Remele

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).

Upcoming Seminars

  • In the Alphabet Soup with Bassford Remele
    Thursday, September 29, 2022, 2:00-3:00 PM, Central Standard Time
  • Consumer Law Defense Practice Group Co-Chairs Jessica Klander and Patrick Newman host the quarterly webinar series “In the Alphabet Soup with Bassford Remele,” which is hosted on the ACA International platform. During this session, Jessica and Patrick will discuss the Fair Credit Reporting Act in the post-Regulation F landscape.
  • This webinar is free to ACA members - https://www.acainternational.org/events/ (online events). If you are interested in attending and are not an ACA member, please contact Jessica Klander, Patrick Newman, Michael Klutho, Christopher Morris, or Bassford Remele's Marketing Director, Janet Nelson, to discuss complimentary registration.
  • ACA Fall Forum, Chicago, November 2-4, 2022
    • The No Surprises Act 101 (Michael Klutho)

Seminars

ACA International, Inc.

  • “In the Alphabet Soup with Bassford Remele”
    • The End of the Beginning: Implementing Reg F Beyond the Model Validation Notice, May 24, 2022
    • The State of the Alphabet Soup Laws Post-Enactment of Regulation F, February 23, 2022

  • Win for the Industry – 11th Circuit Court of Appeals Rules in Hunstein, ACA Hot Topic, September 9, 2022 (Michael Klutho)
  • Meet the New ACA President and Officers, ACA Huddle, September 7, 2022 (Michael Klutho)
  • (1) Collecting Fairly Means Collecting Ethically; (2) The Forefront of Federal and State Advocacy; and (3) "Moneyball" Lessons - Focus on Baserunners, Instead of Home Runs - And Magic Happens, ACA National Convention, July 2022 (Michael Klutho)
  • Don't Get Stranded On The [Courthouse] Roadside Due to a "Letter Breakdown," ACA Hot Topic, June 9, 2022 (Michael Klutho and Jessica Klander)
  • Reg F Best Practices Around Compliance and Compliance Litigation, Great Lakes Credit and Collection Association Annual Conference, Chicago, May 12, 2022 (Michael Klutho, Jessica Klander, and Patrick Newman)
  • Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Reg F – But Were Afraid to Ask! Midwest Collection Conference, St. Louis, MO, April 24-26, 2022 (Michael Klutho)
  • Medical Debt and Credit Reporting, ACA Hot Topic, April 20, 2022 (Part 1); April 28, 2022 (Part 2) (Jessica Klander and Patrick Newman)
  • Risk Management Under Reg F For Collection Attorneys, Kansas Collectors Association, February 21, 2022 (Michael Klutho)

AccountsRecovery.net

  • The Hunstein Ruling Explained, presenter, insideArm, September 19, 2022
  • All of Reg F’s Still Unanswered Questions, AccountsRecovery.net Webinar, September 15, 2022 (Jessica Klander)
  • State Court v. Federal Court: Where Do You Want To Be?, August 3, 2022 (Patrick Newman)
  • Ask The Credit Reporting Expert, July 25, 2022 (Patrick Newman)
  • The Talk-Off, June 17, 2022 (Michael Klutho)
  • What a Chief Compliance Officer Needs to be Responsible For, March 25, 2022 (Michael Klutho)
  • Ask The Credit Reporting Expert, May 23, 2022 (Patrick Newman)
  • How Has the MVN Changed Collection Rates?, May 20, 2022 (Jessica Klander)
  • The Most Common Questions Consumers Ask About Reg F and How to Answer Them, April 29, 2022 (Jessica Klander)
  • Ask The Credit Reporting Expert, March 28, 2022 (Patrick Newman)
  • The Talk-Off, March 24, 2022 (Michael Klutho)
  • Why Companies Should Stop Arguing Lack of Standing and Fight Cases on the Merits, March 2, 2022 (Patrick Newman)
  • Ask the Credit Reporting Expert, February 28, 2022 (Jessica Klander)
  • The Most Common FCRA Mistakes to Avoid, February 4, 2022 (Jessica Klander)
  • The Debate Over How to Report Paid-In-Full Accounts, February 3, 2022 (Patrick Newman)
  • Creating a Culture of Compliance, January 25, 2022 (Patrick Newman)
  • What You Need to Have Ready to Defend Reg F Lawsuits, January 17, 2022 (Michael Klutho)
  • Should You Credit Report Under Reg F?, January 13, 2022 (Jessica Klander)

AccountsRecovery.net

  • The Hunstein Ruling Explained, A Guide for Non-Lawyers, insideArm, September 19, 2022 (Jessica Klander)

National Creditors Bar Association Conference

  • Debt Collection, Foreclosures, Regulations and the Pandemic, Nashville, May 4, 2022 (Michael Klutho)

American Recovery Association

  • Compliance Thoughts for the Current Regulatory Climate, American Recovery Association, June 2022 (Patrick Newman and Tal Bakke)
  • Wrongful Repossession Litigation in the Great Lakes States: Compliance and Defenses, Harding Brooks Insurance Agency, May 19, 2022 (Patrick Newman and Tal Bakke)
  • CFPB Renews Its Focus on the Auto Lending Industry, American Recovery Association, March 17, 2022 (Patrick Newman and Tal Bakke)

Comments from clients and the legal community:

As General Counsel for a national collection agency I work extensively with collection action defense attorneys across the United States. I have worked extensively with the attorneys at Bassford Remele. I have found them to be unsurpassed in all areas. They are all excellent to work with and their expertise is superb. I can always rely on Bassford Remele to provide superb results. I give them my highest recommendation. They have earned it! (General Counsel, National Collection Agency)


This comment was collected as part of the U.S. News - Best Lawyers® "Best Law Firms" research process.

accolades

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 Jonathan Elliott Award
ACA International, Inc.
Michael Klutho, Christopher Morris, and Jessica Klander achieved the Scholar designation