Arias v. Gutman, Mintz, Baker & Sonnenfeldt, PC
This case involves claims under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act against a debt-collection law firm that allegedly attempted to collect a judgment debt by restraining a consumer’s exempt Social Security benefits. The Bureau filed an amicus brief arguing that the district court erred in rejecting the consumer’s claims. Specifically, the brief argued that a false statement by a debt collector that would discourage a consumer from exercising his legal rights was an unlawful misrepresentation under the FDCPA. The brief also argued that the plaintiff stated a valid FDCPA claim in this case when he alleged that the law firm filed a baseless legal pleading that extended the restraint on his exempt Social Security funds and could have led to the collection of those funds.