The debt collection law firm of Cohen & Slamowitz, LLP (now known as Selip & Stylianou, LLP) sent an Information Subpoena to the client of Creditor Harassment Attorney Jason Shear. Cohen & Slamowitz inquired about the income and employment of our client’s spouse. In New York State, a spouse’s wages cannot be garnished to pay a judgment rendered solely against the judgment-debtor. Cohen & Slamowitz attempted to alarm and scare our client into thinking that they would garnish her husband’s income if our client did not pay on the judgment. Cohen & Slamowitz also demanded our client’s spouse’s Social Security Number and Date of Birth. Due to the false representation, our client suffered severe emotional distress and loss of sleep due to wondering if Cohen & Slamowitz could in fact garnish her spouse’s wages. Cohen & Slamowitz’s misrepresentations were made in an attempt to scare our client into paying on a disputed consumer account for which our client — prior to and after the filing of a state court debt collection case — continued to dispute. We argued that Cohen & Slamowitz’s request of information regarding the income and employment of our client’s spouse were not relevant to the satisfaction of a judgment and therefore were not reasonably designed to produce information relevant to the existence of assets available to satisfy a judgment. After our client informed her husband that Cohen & Slamowitz forwarded documentation inquiring about his income and place of employment, our client’s husband became extremely concerned and suffered emotional distress because he was gravely concerned that his income could be garnished, even though he was not legally responsible for the debt/judgment nor was the debt/judgment in his name. After our client observed her husband’s distress and reaction to this news, our client further worried and experienced additional emotional distress, nausea, anxiety and loss of sleep.
In the beginning of 2012, Cohen & Slamowitz restrained our client’s bank account. In response, our client called Cohen & Slamowitz to inquire why her bank account was restrained. Our client still disputed the alleged debt with Cohen & Slamowitz’s representative and requested proof of the debt once again. Cohen & Slamowitz told our client that she must release the entire amount of her account or else the Sheriff could seize the money and any other possible assets if they did not get this settled here and now. Those statements by Cohen & Slamowitz were deceptive and misleading, as the collector working at Cohen & Slamowitz was attempting to convince our client to turn over the amount in her bank account which is protected under New York CPLR 5222(i). We then sued Cohen & Slamowitz, LLP under the FDCPA and obtained a confidential settlement for our client.
Practice Area: FDCPA
Debt Collection Law Firm: Cohen & Slamowitz, LLP (now known as Selip & Stylianou, LLP)
Violations: Deceptive Practices (read below)
Outcome: Confidential settlement for client