Sykes v. Mel S. Harris & Associates LLC
This is a class-action lawsuit under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and other federal and state statutes. Plaintiffs allege that the debt-collector defendants obtained over 120,000 default judgments against consumers from the New York City civil court by using affidavits falsely claiming that the consumers had been served when they had not, and falsely claiming personal knowledge of the relevant facts relating to the claim. Defendants have argued that this alleged conduct is not actionable under the FDCPA because the allegedly false communications were directed to the court and not the consumer. The Bureau, joined by the Federal Trade Commission, filed a brief arguing that the overall scheme is better understood as, in fact, being directed at the consumer, but that in any event, the relevant provisions of the FDCPA, 15 U.S.C. 1692e and 1692f, do not require that false communications or other misconduct be directed at the consumer.