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Kolbasyuk v. Capital Management Services, LP

United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit

March 12, 2019

Yuri Kolbasyuk, on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
Capital Management Services, LP, Defendant-Appellee.

          Argued: December 13, 2018

         Plaintiff-Appellant Yuri Kolbasyuk received a debt collection letter from Defendant-Appellee Capital Management Services, LP ("CMS"). Kolbasyuk sued CMS under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1692 et seq., but the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York (Cogan, J.) rejected his claims. We hold that a debt collection letter that informs the consumer of the total, present quantity of his or her debt satisfies 15 U.S.C. § 1692g notwithstanding its failure to inform the consumer of the debt's constituent components or the precise rates by which it might later increase. We further hold that such a letter does not violate 15 U.S.C. § 1692e for failure to inform the consumer that his or her balance might increase due to interest or fees when the letter contains the "safe harbor" language previously ratified in Avila v. Riexinger & Associates, LLC, 817 F.3d 72 (2d Cir. 2016). Accordingly, the judgment of the district court is AFFIRMED.

          For Plaintiff-Appellant: Levi Huebner, Levi Huebner & Associates, PC, Brooklyn, New York, for Yuri Kolbasyuk.

          For Defendant-Appellee: Kirsten H. Smith (Bryan C. Shartle, on the brief), Sessions, Fishman, Nathan & Israel LLC, Metairie, Louisiana, for Capital Management Services, LP.

          Before: Sack, Livingston, and Chin, Circuit Judges.

          DEBRA ANN LIVINGSTON, CIRCUIT JUDGE:

         The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1692 et seq. ("FDCPA"), regulates certain communications from debt collectors to consumers with outstanding debts. Plaintiff-Appellant Yuri Kolbasyuk sought to invoke the FDCPA's protections when he received a debt collection letter from Defendant- Appellee Capital Management Services, LP ("CMS"). The United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York (Cogan, J.) dismissed Kolbasyuk's claims under 15 U.S.C. §§ 1692e ("Section 1692e") and 1692g ("Section 1692g"). We hold that CMS's letter complied with both provisions and therefore AFFIRM the district court's dismissal of Kolbasyuk's claims.

         BACKGROUND

         I. Factual Background[1]

         Kolbasyuk owed a debt to Barclays Bank Delaware ("Barclays"). Barclays hired CMS to collect it. In an effort to accomplish that task, CMS sent Kolbasyuk a dunning letter dated July 21, 2017. The letter stated the present amount of Kolbasyuk's debt (about six thousand dollars) as well as the identity of the original and current creditor (Barclays). The letter contained CMS's address and contact information, including a website at which Kolbasyuk could submit his payment. The letter noted that it was a "communication . . . from a debt collector." Joint App'x 22. It also contained the following language:

As of the date of this letter, you owe $5918.69. Because of interest, late charges, and other charges that may vary from day to day, the amount due on the day you pay may be greater. Hence, if you pay the amount shown above, an adjustment may be necessary after we receive your check, in which event we will inform you before depositing the check for collection. For more information, write the undersigned or call 1-877-335-6949.

Id.

         II. Procedural History

         After receiving CMS's letter, Kolbasyuk filed a putative class action in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York. He alleged that the letter violated Sections 1692e and 1692g of the FDCPA. According to Kolbasyuk's complaint, the letter violated those provisions because it failed to inform him, inter alia, "what portion of the amount listed is principal," "what 'other charges' might apply," "if there is 'interest, '" "when such interest will be applied," and "what the interest rate is." Joint App'x 17. Kolbasyuk also claimed that the letter conveyed the mistaken impression "that the debt could be ...


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