Judge Calls Debt Firm's Request 'Frivolous'

, New York Law Journal

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More than a year after slamming a debt collecting law firm for trying to tack on $140 in court costs to a consumer's credit card arrears, a Western District judge has described the firm's motion for reconsideration as "bewildering" and borderline "frivolous."

Chief Judge William Skretny's (See Profile) latest decision in Hallmark v. Cohen & Slamowitz, 11-cv-842, largely echoed his September 2013 ruling stating the Woodbury firm misrepresented the amount owed and thereby violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (NYLJ, Sept. 20, 2013).

The Jan. 5 decision stemmed from a motion by Cohen & Slamowitz and Midland Funding for reconsideration, arguing that an underlying agreement authorized them to collect court costs along with the debt.

Skretny said the "assertion borders on the frivolous." He also found "even more bewildering" the defendants' exclusive reliance on that issue in seeking reconsideration. Skretny noted that he cited three reasons for rejecting the claim that an alleged underlying agreement controlled the outcome.

Brian Bromberg of Manhattan along with Kenneth Hiller and Seth Andrews of Amherst represented the debtor and a class certified by Skretny. Cohen & Slamowitz is represented by Steven Kroll of Connell Foley in Roseland, N.J. Thomas Leghorn and Joseph Francoeur of Wilson, Elser, Moskowitz, Edelman & Dicker represented Midland Funding.

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