FTC Files Joint Amicus Brief in Jerman v. Carlisle, McNellie, Rini, Kramer, and Ulrich LPA, et al.

The Federal Trade Commission has joined the U.S. Department of Justice in filing an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in the matter of Jerman v. Carlisle, McNellie, Rini, Kramer, and Ulrich LPA, et al., No. 08-1200 (U.S. S. Ct.). This case concerns whether the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act’s (FDCPA) “bona fide error” defense applies not just to procedural or clerical errors, but also to errors of law.

The amicus brief, which is available on the FTC’s Web site as a link to this press release, urges the Supreme Court to reverse the judgment of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. The Sixth Circuit held that the bona fide error defense could apply to errors of law, but the amicus brief argues that the court’s holding is not consistent with the wording or the legislative history of the FDCPA.

The Commission vote approving the joint filing of the amicus brief was 4-0. It was filed on September 25, 2009. (FTC File No. P082105; the staff contact is Lawrence Demille-Wagman, Office of the General Counsel, 202-326-2448.)

Copies of the documents mentioned in this release are available from the FTC’s Web site at http://www.ftc.gov and from the FTC’s Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20580. Call toll-free: 1-877-FTC-HELP.