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Altman v. J.C. Christensen & Associates, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit

May 14, 2015

ISAAC ALTMAN, for himself and all others similarly situated, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
J.C. CHRISTENSEN & ASSOCIATES, INC., Defendant-Appellee

Submitted February 18, 2015.

As Amended May 15, 2015.

Appeal from the June 11, 2014 judgment of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York (Ross, J.) dismissing Isaac Altman's putative class-action lawsuit against J.C. Christensen & Associates, Inc. Altman alleges that J.C. Christensen violated the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (" FDCPA" )by offering to settle his debt for less than the full amount without warning him that his total savings might be reduced by an increase in his tax liability. We disagree, and hold that a debt collector need not warn of possible tax consequences when making a settlement offer for less than the full amount owed to comply with FDCPA.

MICHAEL KORSINSKY, Joseph P. Garland, Korsinsky & Klein, LLP., Brooklyn, N.Y., for Plaintiff-Appellant Isaac Altman.

JONATHAN B. BRUNO, Kaufman, Borgeest & Ryan LLP, New York, N.Y.; Michael A. Klutho, Bassford Remele, PA., Minneapolis, MN, for Defendant-Appellee J.C. Christensen & Associates, Inc.

Before: POOLER, SACK, and DRONEY, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 192

POOLER, Circuit Judge :

Appeal from the June 11, 2014 judgment of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York (Ross, J. ) dismissing Isaac Altman's putative class-action lawsuit against J.C. Christensen & Associates, Inc. Altman alleges that J.C. Christensen violated the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (" FDCPA" ) by offering to settle his debt for less than the full amount without warning him that his total savings might be reduced by an increase in his tax liability. We disagree, and hold that a debt collector need not warn of possible tax consequences when making a settlement offer for less than the full amount owed to comply with FDCPA.

BACKGROUND

J.C. Christensen is a " debt collector" within the meaning of FDCPA. See 15 U.S.C. § 1692a(6). Altman is a " consumer" as defined by that statute. See 15 U.S.C. § 1692a(3). On or about May 17, 2003, Altman received a letter (" Letter" )

Page 193

titled " NOTICE OF COLLECTION AND SPECIAL OFFER." The Letter stated in relevant part that:

Your Bank of America/FIA Card Services N.A. account has been placed with us for collections. Our services have been contracted to represent in the recovery efforts of your delinquent account. Our records indicate ...

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