LIVE HELPAvailable
Live CHAT
Click to CalL
Call Now
STOP Collector Blog From the law firm of Lemberg & Associates

SCOTUS Hears FDCPA Case Marx v. General Revenue Corp

On November 7, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Marx v. General Revenue Corp, a case arising out of a consumer’s charge that General Revenue Corp violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act by contacting her employer and requesting employment verification. A U.S. District Court found that General Revenue Corp did not violate the FDCPA, and ruled that the consumer had to pay General Revenue Corp $4,543 in costs. Marx appealed the fee ruling, arguing that the fee-shifting provisions of the FDCPA take precedence over the Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(d), which allows courts to award costs to the prevailing party unless a federal law states otherwise. The FDCPA enables debt collection agencies to be awarded costs if a consumer brings a suit in bad faith or to harass the collection agency. There were no allegations of bad faith or harassment in the Marx case. The appellate court rejected Marx’s argument, and the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case.

The SCOTUS Blog provides an excellent review of the briefs submitted to the Supreme Court. Essentially, Marx argues that the FDCPA does “state otherwise” by providing a bad faith and harassment standard. In addition, Marx argues that if Rule 54 were applicable to FDCPA cases, any reference to costs in the FDCPA statute would be superfluous.

General Revenue Corp argues that there are many statutes where it explicitly states that costs cannot be awarded to prevailing parties, but that the FDCPA is not one of those statutes. It also argues that there are other provisions of the Consumer Credit Protection Act that do not protect consumers from being liable for costs to prevailing parties, and that Congress surely did not intend to give FDCPA plaintiffs special protections.

During oral arguments, Marx’s attorney was most closely questioned by Justices Sotomayor and Scalia, who closely examined the legislative intent behind the specific wording in the FDCPS. The Assistant to the Solicitor General, who appeared on behalf of Marx, was most closely questioned by Justice Breyer, who said, “…I don’t just look at the language, I look at the context, I look at the purpose….” Justice Breyer points out that those who draft legislation aren’t aware of the wording of every statute and so aren’t always consistent. General Revenue Corp’s attorney was most closely questioned by Justices Kagan and Breyer.

A transcript of the oral arguments can be found on the Supreme Court’s website: http://www.supremecourt.gov/oral_arguments/argument_transcripts.aspx

The Supreme Court will issue its ruling before it adjourns in June 2013.

Comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Lemberg & Associates’ team
of consumer attorneys is highly
skilled and ready to help you
with debt collector abuse.

If you have been the victim of harassment or illegal or unfair debt collection practices, Lemberg & Associates will discuss your options with you and protect your rights. For more information, contact Lemberg & Associates today at .

Learn More About Us 
Start Free Legal Consultation
Fill out form:
Please wait...
Your information is kept 100% confidential.
We do not spam or sell your information.
Author
Sergei Lemberg

Sergei Lemberg is the principal at Lemberg & Associates, a consumer law firm that defends consumer rights in the areas of fair debt collection law, fair credit law, and lemon law, among others. He is regularly labeled by the debt collection industry as one of the “most active consumer attorneys” in the U.S.

Contact Us

Lemberg & Associates
100 Summer Street
Stamford, CT 06905
855-229-9506
info@lemberglaw.com

Find out how we can
help you stop debt
collector harassment
Get Free Legal Help 

"The FDCPA is a consumer protection statute and was intended to permit, even encourage, attorneys like Lemberg to act as private attorney generals to pursue FDCPA claims."

U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Evon v. Law Offices of Sidney Mickell
Follow Us on Twitter