Alborzian v. JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A.Annotate this Case
Plaintiffs obtained loans to purchase their home in 2005, each secured by a deed of trust. Wells Fargo had the senior lien, and Chase had the junior lien. Wells Fargo foreclosed on the property, but the proceeds were not enough to pay off Chase’s loan. About a year later, Chase sent plaintiffs a letter, stating that plaintiffs still “owe[d]” $67,002.04 and offering to accept $16,750.56 “as settlement for [their] loan balance.” The letter purported to offer a short window of opportunity to resolve the] delinquency before the debt was accelerated. In its final sentence, the letter disavowed any “attempt to collect a debt or to impose personal liability” that “was discharged.” Chase sent a similar second letter. Chase and PRS also made collection calls to plaintiffs. Plaintiffs sued Chase and PRS on behalf of a potential class, claiming that Chase’s right to enforce its loan against them personally had been extinguished and that defendants’ letters and calls were misleading for implying that the debt was still owed. Plaintiffs cited California’s Rosenthal Act, Consumer Legal Remedies Act (CLRA), and Unfair Competition Law (UCL), and the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), 15 U.S.C. 1692. The trial court dismissed. The court of appeal held that a borrower may sue the debt collector under the FDCPA and may sue the junior lienholder or its debt collector under the Rosenthal Act and UCL, but may not sue for violations of CLRA.