A Large Change to Small Claims Court
In a previous SVL update, we highlighted the changes to County Court Jurisdiction in Florida. (That SVL Update can be found under the News tab of our website: www.svllaw.com, where we explain that the Florida county court jurisdiction is increasing to $30,0000.00.) Considering those changes which take effect on January 1, 2020, the Florida Supreme Court has approved a new rule that changes the jurisdictional limits of small claims court. Currently, small claims court jurisdiction includes cases where the amount in dispute is up to $5,000.00. The new rule raises the limit to $8,000.00 effective January 1, 2020.
If your Credit Union handles its own small claims cases, you can now file suit on claims where the principal balance is $8,000.00 or less. If you do not take advantage of small claims court to pursue charge-off debts without the use of a lawyer, now may be the time to consider using it to increase your recoveries in 2020.
Should you have any questions about small claims court or need training on the pursuit of debts through small claims court, do not hesitate to contact one of the lawyers at SVL.
Changes to County and Circuit Court Jurisdiction in Florida
On May 24, 2019, the Governor signed House Bill 337 which was previously passed by the Florida legislature. This law makes major changes to the jurisdictional limits of the Florida Courts. Currently, county courts in Florida have jurisdiction of all claims up to $15,000.00 and circuit court has jurisdiction for claims in excess of $15,000.00.
Under this new law, the jurisdiction of county court is increased to $30,000.00 effective January 1, 2020. As a result, after January 1, 2020, the jurisdiction for the circuit courts will be for any claims in excess of $30,000.00. Then on January 1, 2023, the jurisdiction of the county court is increased to include claims up to $50,000.00, which will give the circuit courts jurisdiction in any claim in excess of $50,000.00.
This law does not impact the jurisdictional limits of small claims court. Small claims court is a division of county court and currently small claims court and small claims procedures apply to claims up to $5,000.00.
Should you have questions about this law, please do not hesitate to contact a lawyer at Sorenson Van Leuven for further guidance.
CFPB Publishes Proposed Debt Collection Rule
Today, the CFPB issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to implement the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). The proposal is aimed at providing consumers with protections against harassment by debt collectors. The proposed rule is aimed at four goals: (1) establishing a clear, bright-line rule limiting call attempts and
telephone conversations; (2) clarify consumer protection requirements for certain consumers facing debt collection disclosures; (3) clarify how debt collectors can communicate with consumers; and (4) prohibit suits and threats
of suit on time-barred debts and require communication before credit reporting.
After an initial review of the NPRM, it appears
that the rule is mostly limited to third-party debt collectors and would have limited impact on Credit Unions servicing and collecting their own debts. However, the rule does establish standards of harassment that might be used to establish harassment under state statutes that apply to creditors collecting their own debts. The rule also addresses the use of email and text messaging, providing the first federal guidance on the use of these tools in collecting a debt.
The public is invited to submit written comments on the proposed rule. The public will have ninety days from the date that the NPRM is published in the Federal Register to provide public comments on the proposed rule. A copy of the proposed rule can be found here.
We are still in the process of evaluating this proposed rule and will be providing additional information to our clients. In addition, this will be a topic covered at our Credit Union Seminar, August 7-9th in Orlando. Additional information on the seminar can be found on our website under the News tab.