Plaintiffs, businesses that supply information to credit bureaus, sued Lexington Law, a consumer-advocacy organization, for fraud in its preparation of demand letters by consumers. CBE Group v. Lexington Law Firm, No. 20-10166 (April 1, 2021). The Fifth Circuit affirmed JNOV for the law firm, observing problems with the plaintiff’s evidence of:

  • A contract. “While Chavarria and Garza may have misunderstood the process through which Lexington Law would represent them (and that misunderstanding may have been prompted by the firm’s actions), they were still bound by the terms of an engagement agreement the validity of which is not in doubt.”
  • Reasonable reliance. “Once Plaintiffs developed suspicions that the letters may not have been sent from consumers themselves, they incurred costs in investigating correspondence on their own accord rather than because of the FCRA or the FDCPA. Indeed, Plaintiffs’ internal policies require them to investigate and respond to dispute letters sent by consumers and third parties alike. Thus, Plaintiffs fraud claim falls short for the additional reason that they did not justifiably rely on any alleged misrepresentation.”

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