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Eighth Circuit Says Misleading Statements Must Be Material for FDCPA Liability

In Hill v. Accounts Receivables Servs., LLC, the Eighth Circuit recently considered whether the materiality of a misleading statement should factor into finding  liability under Section 1692e of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). In Hill, a debtor brought suit against creditor Accounts Receivables Services, LLC (ARS), challenging ARS’s assignment of the disputed debt. The district court granted ARS’s motion for judgment on the pleadings and the debtor appealed, arguing that the trial court erred in applying a materiality standard to §§ 1692e(2) and 1692e(10)’s provision prohibiting misleading representations. The Eighth Circuit disagreed, finding that the trial court appropriately found that an alleged inadequate documentation of an assignment did not constitute a materially false representation.Though brief, the opinion in Hill provides a powerful tool to litigants and shows a growing consensus among the U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeal that any misleading statements must be material to impose FDCPA liability.