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October 2019
Case Note

Case NoteBy Keith Schofner, Lambert Leser

The United States Supreme Court held earlier this year that general provisions of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act found at 15 USC §1692, et seq. ("FDCPA") did not apply to an entity engaged in non-judicial foreclosure proceedings under Colorado state law, but that instead the provisions of §1692f(6) applied. See Obduskey v. McCarthy & Holthus LLC, 139 S. Ct. 1029 (2019).

Essentially, the Supreme Court looked at the definition of "debt collector" contained in the FDCPA and found that the more limited definition of debt collector in the FDCPA applied in the case. The Supreme Court looked at the definition of "debt collector" pursuant to §1692a(6) which includes an additional sentence that provides, in pertinent part: "For the purpose of Section 1692f(6) [the] term [debt collector] also includes any person... that in any business the principal purpose of which is the enforcement of security interests." The Supreme Court called this "the limited-purpose definition."

In the case, the lower court and the Supreme Court determined that McCarthy & Holthus LLC ("McCarthy"), the firm acting as Wells Fargo's agent, was not a "debt collector" as defined in §1692a(6) and was not required to comply with the procedures of §1692g(6). The primary underlying facts of the case were that McCarthy, on behalf of Wells Fargo, sent a required notice under Colorado law to initiate non-judicial foreclosure to the debtor, Obduskey. Obduskey responded by initiating procedures for disputing a debt under the FDCPA attempting to invoke the requirements of §1692g(6) that, in summary and pertinent part, require the "debt collector" to cease collection and obtain verification of the debt. McCarthy did not follow the §1692g(6) FDCPA process and initiated a non-judicial foreclosure. Obduskey filed suit.

At the time of drafting this note, a federal court in Michigan had cited the Supreme Court case when it ruled that the defendant did not violate the FDCPA when the defendant took possession and changed locks after the expiration of a redemption period without instituting the eviction process. See Thompson v. Five Brothers Mortgage Co. Services and Securing, Inc., 2019 WO 2051798 (W.D. Mich).

Join Us for Real Estate Outlook 2020

By Scott R. Lesser, Miller Canfield

Outlook 2020Join fellow Section members for the inaugural run of the Real Property Law Section’s Real Estate Outlook on October 17, 7:30 a.m. at the Detroit Athletic Club. The Outlook’s premise is simple: To be most useful to our respective clients and companies, we must better understand how our work fits into the bigger economic picture. What market opportunities, legal issues, and business concerns will matter most to you in six months?

This program could not be timelier. The nation is in the midst of a near-unprecedented economic recovery period. But is the recovery winding down, or will it churn along contentedly? The Real Estate Outlook will offer insight into the current economic environment in the United States, including a near-term outlook, provided by Robert Dye, Comerica Bank’s chief economist. The bank’s customers, business leaders, and policy-makers all turn to Mr. Dye for a glimpse of the future. In 2015, Mr. Dye received the Lawrence R. Klein Award for the most accurate 4-year economic forecast. Expect an entertaining, interesting, and informative presentation on the complicated economy in which we find ourselves.

After hearing from Mr. Dye, we will digest his presentation with a lively discussion of its relationship to Michigan’s economy and the world we will face every day. This program is relevant not just to real estate and other attorneys, but to brokers, developers, property owners, title company representatives—anyone whose business is rooted in real estate.

Outlook benefits:

  • Gain a better understanding of the current economic environment of the United States and recent developments.
  • Learn what more esoteric topics, like monetary policy, mean for your business.
  • Develop confidence, attract clients, and impress partners.
  • Gain insight into how your practice may be impacted by economic trends.
  • Network with some of the leading Michigan real estate lawyers, brokers, and other professionals.

Limited space available. Register now!

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Register Today!

Real Estate Outlook 2020

Real Estate Outlook 2020
October 17, 2019
Detroit Athletic Club, Detroit
7:30 a.m.—Breakfast
8:00–8:45 a.m.—Speaker: Robert A. Dye, Ph.D., Senior Vice President and Chief Economist, Comerica Bank
8:45-9:45 a.m.—Roundtable Discussion
Register online or by mail form


Marijuana Law Conference
October 24-26, 2019
J.W. Marriott, Grand Rapids

Join a Committee

Take the opportunity to get involved by writing for one of our publications, presenting at a conference or seminar, or joining one of the committees that cover virtually every area in real estate law. See our committees and how you can join or see the committees you're already subscribed to.

Note to Committee Members:
Communication settings for RPLS Special Committee members have been changed to "Daily Digest." This means when a message is posted on your Committee page, you will receive the message the day after it is posted.

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Interested in writing an article for the e-Newsletter? Please contact co-editors Glen Zatz at, Samuel Kilberg at, or Patricia Paruch at

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