U.S. Supreme Court to Decide Whether Federal Debt Collection Laws Cover Foreclosures
The U.S. Supreme court recently heard arguments in Obduskey v. McCarthy, a Tenth Circuit case finding that parties engaged in nonjudicial foreclosure proceedings are not “debt collectors” under the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”). Under the FDCPA, a “debt collector” is any party whose principal purpose is the collection of defaulted consumer debts, or who regularly collects or attempts to collect defaulted consumer debts.
In Obduskey, the Tenth Circuit found that nonjudicial foreclosure proceedings are attempts to enforce security interests as opposed to collecting money from a consumer. In making this ruling, the Tenth Circuit joined the Ninth Circuit, which found that a nonjudicial foreclosure is not collection activity because the purpose of a foreclosure is to retake and resell the security and not to collect money from the borrower. The Supreme Court’s ruling will provide lower courts with guidance regarding the scope of the FDCPA as it relates to mortgage foreclosure law.
If you are a victim of illegal debt collection efforts, including threats, harassment, or deception, you may have claims under the FDCPA. These claims can be brought at no out-of-pocket cost to you because the debt collector is required to pay your attorney’s fees and costs if you prevail. You may also recover up to $1,000 in damages for a successful FDCPA claim. Contact a consumer debt collection lawyer to discuss your legal rights.