U.S. District Court Judge Jose Linares denied a debt collection law firm’s motion to dismiss in Steven Psaros vs Green Tree Servicing, LLC.
According to Judge Linares’ 16 page opinion, Psaros successfully alleged that New Jersey law firm Stern Lavinthal & Frankenberg violated FDCPA laws by charging and attempting to collect improper fees of $10,974.37 for property insurance outlays to Psaros’ home mortgage debt.
The fees were improper because Psaros had paid all taxes/insurance, and his mortgage loan contained an escrow waiver. In response Psaros sued both Green Tree Servicing, LLC and Stern Lavinthal & Frankenburg. Stern Lavinthal & Frankenburg argued that they were not liable for the false representations of the debt owed by Psaros because the information was generated by their client Green Tree Servicing, LLC. Justice Linares rejected their defense, ruling that “Stern Lavinthal cannot evade its responsibilities as a debt collector by blaming its client for providing it with factually inaccurate information used in the process of collecting a debt.” Green Tree Servicing, LLC did not move for dismissal of the claims.
Adam Deutsch, Esq. comments denial of a debt collection law firm’s motion to dismiss in Steven Psaros vs Green Tree Servicing, LLC.
“Judge Linares’ December 21st opinion is significant for Mr. Psaros and will prove meaningful to scores of other consumers facing debt collection litigation. It is unfortunate how often lawyers choosing to make a living collecting debts do so based upon false information provided by their clients. Green Tree Servicing, LLC was notified by Mr. Psaros of the error, and they still directed Stern Lavinthal & Frankenberg, LLC to collect funds not owed. Industry wide, there is evidence that debt collectors and their attorneys regularly engage in this conduct unchecked, ” says plaintiff attorney Adam Deutsch, Esq. of the law firm of Denbeaux and Denbeaux.