Circuit Permits Debtor’s Suit Against Ocwen After Discharge in Bankruptcy

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A debtor can bring suit in federal court to challenge collection practices under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act for a debt that has been discharged in bankruptcy, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled Monday.

Overturning a lower court, the Second Circuit said plaintiff debtor Donna Garfield is not precluded by bankruptcy law from suing in district court on claims under the act (FDCPA) after her discharge in bankruptcy.

In Garfield v. Ocwen Loan Servicing LLC, 15-527, Judges Jon Newman, Ralph Winter and Jose Cabranes reversed Western District Judge Elizabeth Wolford, who had held Garfield could only seek relief in bankruptcy court.

Garfield failed to make payments on a mortgage for the home she obtained from Ocwen’s predecessor-in-interest, and she filed for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in 2009. She obtained a discharge of her personal obligation for the loan in August 2013, agreeing to pay…

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