FDCPA – look at the whole, not the parts

Among other holdings in a hard-fought wrongful foreclosure action, the Fifth Circuit made two observations about the FDCPA in Mahmoud v. DeMoss Owners Association. First, while language on the first page of a letter suggested that action was required in less than 30 days, the next page of that letter clearly gave the required 30-day action period in three places, and thus did not violate the FDCPA.  Second, even though “a small portion of the debt may have been time-barred,” in the context of a non-judicial foreclosure controlled by state law, that matter alone would not create an FDCPA violation. A dissent had a different view of the point, and “would hold instead that, consistent with the text and spirit of the Act, demanding full repayment of a partiaally time-barred debt under the threat of forecloosure – implying that the entirety of the debt is legally enforceable – violates the FDCPA.” No. 15-20618 (July 28, 2017).

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