Third Circuit Holds “Settlement Language” in Collection Letter Can Be Misleading

Jonathan M. RobbinEdward W. Chang, and Scott E. Wortman

In a change of course from its prior holding in Huertas v. Galaxy Asset Mgmt., 641 F.3d 28 (3d Cir. 2011), the Third Circuit rules that the terms “settlement” and “settlement offer,” in connection with collecting of a time barred debt, may connote litigation and thus mislead a consumer. However, the Court continues to hold that settlement terms alone do not necessarily constitute deceptive or misleading practices under the FDCPA.

In a unanimous published decision in Tatis v. Allied Interstate LLC, No. 16-4022 (3d Cir.) the Third Circuit reversed the District of New Jersey’s granting of a motion to dismiss. The lower court had held that a debt collector’s attempt to collect the time-barred debt did not violate the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”) because the collection letter was not accompanied by a threat of legal action. In its order overruling the lower court, the Third Circuit deviated from its prior holding in Huertas v. Galaxy Asset Mgmt., 641 F.3d 28 (3d Cir. 2011) and instead looked to the more recent decisions from its sister circuits—the Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh—which all held that the term “settle” could mislead a consumer. Continue reading “Third Circuit Holds “Settlement Language” in Collection Letter Can Be Misleading”

SCOTUS Gives Pendent State Law Claims New Life in Artis v. District of Columbia

Bruce M. Gorman, Jr.

Recently, in Artis v. District of Columbia, the Supreme Court ruled on the nagging question of how long a plaintiff has to refile a pendent state law claim in state court after it has been dismissed by a federal court. The answer: longer than you would have thought. Continue reading “SCOTUS Gives Pendent State Law Claims New Life in Artis v. District of Columbia

Marketing for the Legal Professional and Law Firm Advertising

Blank Rome Partner Jonathan Korn will present at the upcoming Camden County Bar Association CLE, “Marketing for the Legal Professional and Law Firm Advertising,” which will be held on Thursday, February 15, 2018, from 4:00 p.m. to 6:15 p.m., at the Tavistock Country Club in Haddonfield, New Jersey.  Continue reading “Marketing for the Legal Professional and Law Firm Advertising”

Class Gets the Squeeze: Class Certification Denied in In Re: Tropicana Orange Juice Marketing and Sales Practices Litigation, Civil No. 2:11-07382, MDL 2353 (D.N.J. Jan. 22, 2018)

David C. Kistler and Michael A. Iannucci

Consumer class action litigation—often accusing the defendant company of deceiving its customers—strikes at the heart of a company’s reputation, goodwill, and brand—all of which are often built over the course of many years or decades. As such, these cases pose not only the threat of immense litigation and liability costs, but also irreparable, and potentially fatal, future damage to the company’s brand. By way of recent example, for the past several years, a putative class of plaintiffs from several states took aim at Tropicana’s Pure Premium (“TPP”) orange juice, claiming that the company deceived and misrepresented the public concerning its popular orange juice. Continue reading “Class Gets the Squeeze: Class Certification Denied in In Re: Tropicana Orange Juice Marketing and Sales Practices Litigation, Civil No. 2:11-07382, MDL 2353 (D.N.J. Jan. 22, 2018)”

Governor Christie’s Final “Act”

Jonathan Korn

On his final day in office, Governor Christie signed into law a dramatic change in how judgments obtained in foreign countries are domesticated in New Jersey. First introduced in 2015, the Foreign Country Money-Judgments Recognition Act of 2015 (the “Act”) repeals the 1997 Act of the same name and fundamentally alters the process for recognizing foreign judgments in New Jersey. Continue reading “Governor Christie’s Final “Act””

Appreciating Bitcoin: A Holiday Guide to Legal Hot Topics in Virtual Currency

Ethan M. Simon

Five years ago, one bitcoin sold for less than $15. Two years ago, the unit price was about $500. Now, the price of a bitcoin has topped $15,000, and it’s climbing fast enough to garner front-page attention by major newspapers. Since its inception, bitcoin has invoked thoughts of a shadow network where users trade in an untraceable electronic currency for drugs, weapons and other illicit goods and services. That world is not a fantasy, and some bitcoin holders have gone so far as to use bitcoins to hire hitmen, see, e.g., United States v. Ulbricht, 858 F.3d 71 (2d Cir. 2017). Continue reading “Appreciating Bitcoin: A Holiday Guide to Legal Hot Topics in Virtual Currency”

New Jersey Supreme Court Voids Waiver of Third-Party Liability in Employment Contracts

Michael A. Rowe

In Vitale v. Schering-Plough Corp., A-20-16 (Dec. 11, 2017), the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that an employment contract that limits a worker’s right to sue a third party after an injury is unenforceable because it contravenes public policy.

Allied Barton Security Services (“Allied”) hired Plaintiff as a security guard. As a condition of employment, Allied required Plaintiff to sign an agreement entitled “Worker’s Comp Disclaimer” (the “Disclaimer”). Under the Disclaimer, Plaintiff released all rights he may have had against “any customer…of Allied Security to which [Plaintiff] may be assigned, arising from or related to injuries which are covered under the Workers’ Compensation statutes.” Continue reading “New Jersey Supreme Court Voids Waiver of Third-Party Liability in Employment Contracts”