An attempted validation notice pursuant to 15 U.S.C. §1692(g) attached to a Complaint in a lawsuit may be considered as deceptive and misleading to the “least sophisticated consumer” under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. In Battle v. Gladstone Law Group, P.A., law firm, acting as counsel for Bank of America, N.A., filed a complaint in Florida State Court to foreclose on Gina Battle’s mortgage and to enforce a promissory note. Attached to the State Court complaint and summons was a document entitled “Notice Required by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. Section 1692g.” The Notice was presumably served to inform Gina Battle of her rights concerning validation of the debt and provide her with 30 days to request validation of the debt. The summons issued by the State Court along with the State Court complaint informed Battle that she had 20 days to file a response with the court. Battle sued the law firm, Gladstone Law Group, and attorney Ron Gladstone, under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act alleging that they violated the FDCPA because the Notice attached to the state court Complaint was deceptive and misleading to the “least sophisticated consumer.” The federal lawsuit was converted into a Class Action alleging that that the class was so large that joinder of all members of the Class was impractical and that the class was in excess of 100. The District Judge ruled that an FDCPA notice incorporated into a mortgage foreclosure summons and complaint, such as the one used by the Gladstone Law Group, does not necessarily effectively convey notice of the rights to the “least sophisticated consumer.” The Court went on to say that the “least sophisticated consumer” could be deceived or confused when the summons sets out a 20-day deadline to respond to the lawsuit and the attached notice provides for a 30-day deadline to request validation of the debt.
Battle v. Gladstone Law Group, P.A., Case Number: 12-14458-Civ-Martinez-Lynch.