Gordon & Rees Washington, D.C. Team Obtains Dismissal of Class Action Lawsuit Under Maryland’s Debt Collection and Licensing Regime

August 2023

Partner Patrick Burns and Associate Malcolm Savage obtained a dismissal from the U.S. District Court for the State of Maryland, Greenbelt Division of a class action lawsuit under Maryland's Consumer Loan Law ("MCLL"), the Maryland Sales Finance Company Licensing Law ("SFCLL") and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Acton ("FDCPA") on behalf of a debt purchaser client.

In this case, the plaintiffs alleged that Gordon & Rees' client violated the MCLL, the SFCLL, and the FDCPA when it filed lawsuits seeking to collect defaulted credit card debt. In a seventeen-page memorandum opinion, the Court disagreed and adopted the Gordon & Rees team's arguments. The Court first resolved the MCLL's ambiguity according to the team's argument in holding that the defendant was not "in the business of making loans." The Court rejected the plaintiffs' argument that the SFCLL unambiguously encompassed the client's activities. It again adopted the team's argument resolving the SFCLL's ambiguity in holding that the defendant was "in the business of acquiring…retail credit account transactions." Ultimately, the Court held that its findings under the MCLL and SFCLL were dispositive of the remaining claims because Gordon & Rees' client was not required to be licensed under those statutes.