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Duane Morris Mortgage Debt Violations of FDCPA, FCCPA Florida Class Action

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Bill Stamped with Words "Final Notice"

The complaint for this class action alleges that Duane Morris, LLP and two of its attorneys, Ruth P. Clayton and Danielle Rundlett Burns, have violated two debt collection laws. The laws are the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act (FCCPA), both of which deal with consumer debt.

The class for this action is

  • All persons with addresses in Florida
  • To whom initial written communications were sent that contained these statements: “The Fair Debt Collection Practicews Act entitles you to dispute the debt, or any portion thereof, within thirty (30) days of your receipt of this letter. If you do not dispute the dent within that period, the debt will be assumed to be valid”
  • In trying to collect a debt incurred for personal, family, or household purposes,
  • Between May 31, 2018 and the date of class certification in this case.

The complaint cites a number of alleged violations that center around several communications: 

  • Demand Letter, dated Friday, April 19, 2019. Attempted to collect the mortgage debt allegedly owed by plaintiff Patricia Ann Klein. Addressed to Klein but beginning, “Dear John and Susan Marshall[.]” Contained the statements above, and also “At this time, no attorney with this firm has personally reviewed the particular circumstances of your account.”
  • Verified Complaint, filed the following Monday, April 22, 2019. Page 9 was verified by an officer of the lending bank on April 15.
  • Second Demand Letter, dated April 25, 2019. Sent to Patricia Ann Klein after an attorney representing her had contacted Duane Morris. Repeated both objectionable statements.

The complaint cites several problems with the communications that violate the FDCPA, the FCCPA, or both laws. 

The statements cited in the class definition are objectionable, the complaint says, because of their wording. The complaint claims that the wording should be, “…will be assumed to be valid by the debt collector.”

The complaint also alleges that the Demand Letter was the initial communication, and that since both it and the Second Demand Letter have the incorrectly-worded statement, Klein was not properly notified of her rights within five days of the initial communication.

Furthermore, the statement in both the Demand Letter and Second Demand Letter that no attorney at that firm had reviewed the case was false and/or misleading, given the dates pertaining to the documents.

Additionally, the complaint alleges that the amount owed on the mortgage was also incorrect.

Finally, the complaint alleges that another violation of law occurred when a communication was sent directly to Klein after her attorney had announced he was representing her. All communications after that point should have been sent to the attorney and not to the debtor.

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