Grossberger v. Fein, Such, Kahn & Shepard, P.C., 2021 WL 1289829 (App. Div. Apr. 7, 2021)

Seeking to impose a bank levy on a valid judgment is a legal and proper method to collect an outstanding debt.

The creditor obtained a judgment against the plaintiff for $10,971.05. On February 5, 2016, the defendant obtained a writ of execution in an effort to collect on the judgment, and in March 2019, the Ocean County Sheriff attempted, unsuccessfully, to levy on the plaintiff’s personal property and bank accounts to satisfy the judgment. On July 22, 2019, the plaintiff filed a Special Civil Part complaint, claiming the defendant’s issuance of a bank levy violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), 15 U.S.C. 1692a-1692p.

The trial judge, on summary judgment, noted that the complaint alleged the bank levy was “known to the debt collector as false and issued purely to intimidate in strict violation of the FDCPA anti-harassing law,” but the plaintiff failed “to explain why the levy was in violation of the FDCPA or argue that there [wa]s no judgment or that the judgment has been satisfied.”

On appeal, the Appellate Division held that there was no evidence that the defendant, a debt collector, violated the FDCPA by issuing a bank levy in order to collect on an enforceable judgment. The Appellate Division held that the issuance of the levy was based on a valid, enforceable judgment and was properly filed to collect on a debt owed. The Appellate Division held that the defendant sought to impose a bank levy on a valid judgment, which is a legal and proper method to collect an outstanding debt. There is no evidence in the record that the defendant employed unfair or unconscionable means to collect the judgment on behalf of its client.


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