Mashiri v. Epsten Grinnell & Howell, No. 14-56927 (9th Cir. 2017)Annotate this Case
Plaintiff filed suit alleging that the law firm of Epsten Grinnell & Howell and attorney Debora M. Sumwalt (collectively, "Epsten") committed unlawful debt collection practices in violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), 15 U.S.C. 1692 et seq., the Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (Rosenthal Act), Cal. Civ. Code 1788 et seq., and the California Unfair Competition Law, Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code 17200, et seq. The district court dismissed the FDCPA claims and the state law claims. The court held, however, that plaintiff has alleged a plausible claim for relief because the collection letter contains language that overshadows and conflicts with her FDCPA debt validation rights when reviewed under the “least sophisticated debtor” standard; rejected Epsten's argument, raised for the first time on appeal, that in sending the collection letter, it merely sought to perfect a security interest and is therefore subject only to the limitations in section 1692f(6); and held that Epsten is subject to the full scope of the FDCPA. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded.