Reese, et al. v. Ellis, Painter, Ratterree, & Adams, LLP, No. 10-14366 (11th Cir. 2012)Annotate this Case
Plaintiffs defaulted on a loan that they had secured by giving the lender a mortgage on their property. A law firm representing the lender sent plaintiffs a letter and documents demanding payment of the debt and threatening to foreclose on the property if they did not pay it. Plaintiffs then filed a putative class action lawsuit against the law firm alleging that the communication violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), 15 U.S.C. 1692e. The district court dismissed the complaint for failure to state a claim. The court held, however, that the complaint contained enough factual content to allow inference that the law firm was a "debt collector" because it regularly attempted to collect debts. The complaint also alleged that the law firm was "engaged in the business of collecting debts owed to others incurred for personal, family[,] or household purposes" and that in the year before the complaint was filed, the firm had sent more than 500 people "dunning notice[s]" containing "the same or substantially similar language" to that found in the letter and documents attached to the complaint in this case. Further, the complaint alleged enough to constitute regular debt collection within the meaning of 1692a(6). Accordingly, the court reversed the judgment and remanded for further proceedings.