Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Eighth Circuit Declines to Follow Crawford Proof of Claim Analysis

The Eighth Circuit has taken the middle ground in the debate as to whether the mere filing of a proof of claim outside the statute of limitations violates the FDCPA.  Gatewood v. CP Medical, LLC, Case No. 15-6008 (8th Cir. Jul. 10, 2015).  In Gatewood, the creditor filed a proof of claim for medical debt.  The debtors filed an adversary proceeding asserting that the debt was time barred and that by filing a proof of claim on time barred debt, the creditor had engaged in a “false, deceptive, misleading, unfair and unconscionable” debt collection practice.  Slip Op. at 2-3.  In separating itself from the Eleventh Circuit’s opinion in Crawford v. LVNV Funding, the court held that while the filing of a proof of claim was debt collection, not all debt collection violates the FDCPA.  Instead, the court took a more moderate position, noting that the FDCPA “simply prohibits false, misleading, deceptive, unfair or unconscionable debt collection practices.  Filing in a bankruptcy court an accurate proof of claim containing all the required information, including the timing of the debt, standing alone, is not a prohibited debt collection practice.” Slip Op. at 10 (emphasis supplied).

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