Hooks v. Forman, Holt, Eliades & Ravin

Creditors and Debtors Rights

New York Law Journal


Judge Christopher Droney

Attending a vacation timeshare presentation, plaintiffs signed a purchase agreement. Neither realized the document was a mortgage. Plaintiffs asserted that debt collector Forman Holt's April 5, 2011, notice violated §1692g(a)(3) of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) because it indicated that the debt's validity could only be challenged by writing. District court dismissed suit, holding that a notice requiring that disputes be presented in writing does not violate §1692g(a)(3). Second Circuit vacated. On an issue of first impression in the circuit, Second Circuit—persuaded by the Ninth's reasoning in Camacho v. Bridgeport Financial, which held that a notice imposing a writing requirement violates §1692g—vacated dismissal. Second Circuit ruled §1692g(a)(3) does not incorporate the writing requirement included in other FDCPA sections. Further observing that the rights defined by §§1692h and 1692e(8) place less of a burden on debt collectors than those defined by §§1692g(a)(4), (a)(5) and (b), the circuit found it made sense to require debtors to take the extra step of putting a dispute in writing before claiming the more burdensome set of rights defined by §1692g(a)(4), (a)(5) and (b).

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