Cohen & Slamowitz, LLP engaged in the collection of a consumer debt for which our client was not responsible. Cohen & Slamowitz represented Gemini Asset Recoveries Inc., a debt buyer who purported to be assigned the rights of a defaulted Citibank account allegedly belonging to our client. Our client was sued by Cohen & Slamowitz in Buffalo City Court on October 25, 2005. The Complaint filed by Cohen & Slamowitz alleged a “default in payment and pursuant to the terms of the agreement now owe a balance of $1,078.20 as of July 16, 1999 together with attorney’s fees of $215.64.” Cohen & Slamowitz obtained a default judgment against our client in 2005. Cohen & Slamowitz continued to collect on the time barred debt in 2011 by engaging in such acts as garnishing our client’s wages. We brought an FDCPA case against Cohen & Slamowitz in 2012 based on the original 2005 time barred debt collection suit. Even though the FDCPA has a short one year Statute of Limitations we argued that our client’s claims relating back to the original filing of the invalid debt collection action is timely based upon Equitable Tolling. Specifically, we asserted that Equitable Tolling applied in the case because: (1) Cohen & Slamowitz concealed the existence of our client’s cause of action; (2) Our client remained ignorant of that cause of action until some point within the limitations’ period; and (3) Our client’s continuing ignorance was not due to lack of diligence. We then sued Cohen & Slamowitz under the FDCPA and obtained a confidential settlement for our client.
Practice Area: FDCPA
Debt Buyer: Gemini Asset Recoveries Inc.
Debt Collection Law Firm: Cohen & Slamowitz, LLP (now known as Selip & Stylianou, LLP)
Violation: Collection of debt not owed through wage garnishment
Outcome: Confidential settlement for client