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Jerman v. Carlisle, McNellie, Rini, Kramer & Ulrich LPA, No. 08-1200, involved an action contending that, by sending a notice requiring her to dispute the debt in writing, defendant law firm violated section 1692g(a) of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), which governed the contents of notices to debtors. The Supreme Court reversed the Sixth Circuit's affirmance of summary judgment for defendant, holding that the bona fide error defense in section 1692k(c) of the FDCPA did not apply to a violation resulting from a debt collector's mistaken interpretation of the legal requirements of the FDCPA.
As stated in the majority decision, delivered by Justice Sotomayor: "The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA or Act) imposes civil liability on "debt collector[s]" for certain prohibited debt collection practices. Section 813(c) of the Act, 15 U. S. C. §1692k(c), provides that a debt collector is not liable in an action brought under the Act if she can show "the violation was not intentional and resulted from a bona fide error notwithstanding the maintenance of procedures reasonably adapted to avoid any such error." This case presents the question whether the "bona fide error" defense in §1692k(c)applies to a violation resulting from a debt collector's mistaken interpretation of the legal requirements of the FDCPA. We conclude it does not."
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