Collector - July 2020 - 40

ACANEWS

Pushing Back Against Regulatory Overreach
In granting ACA's requested preliminary relief in ACA International v. Healey, the court observed that ACA's memberdeclarants had suffered real economic harm as a result of the Massachusetts emergency regulation.
By Colin Winkler

O

n March 26, 2020, amidst America's
turbulent preliminary response
to the COVID-19 public health
emergency and the resulting economic
and regulatory uncertainty, Massachusetts
Attorney General Maura Healey issued an
emergency regulation, codified at 940 CMR
35.00, that all but shut down the debtcollection industry in Massachusetts.
The regulation prohibited debt
collectors from initiating calls to
consumers except as requested by the
consumer and prohibited debt collectors
and creditors from pursuing judicial
remedies, e.g., filing lawsuits or pursuing
post-judgment garnishments and levies.
Together, these prohibitions crippled the
accounts receivable management (ARM)
industry in Massachusetts, preventing
collection agencies from reaching out to
consumers to make and adjust payment
arrangements, offer forbearance or
deferments, or simply check in about

40

consumers' present ability to pay. At the
same time, collection agencies had to keep
staff on hand to respond to consumer
inquiries and disputes. Worse than the
economic damage, however, would be
the constitutional harm: by imposing
these prohibitions only on debt collectors
and certain creditors, Healey trampled
those parties' rights under First and 14th
Amendments of the U.S. Constitution.
Initially, the ARM industry scrambled
to comply. The regulation came as a
surprise after the Massachusetts Division
of Banks had declared earlier that week
that its licensees-including collection
agencies-were "essential businesses" and
could continue to operate despite Gov.
Charlie Baker's March 23 emergency order
requiring non-essential businesses to close
their physical operations. After widespread
confusion about the regulation's meaning,
scope and effect, Healey's office released
additional clarifying guidance that made

clear that the regulation intended to override
the Division of Banks' determination and
to effectively halt collection business in
Massachusetts.
But as the dust from the regulation's
unexpected issuance began to settle, ACA
International, in close consultation with
the New England Collectors Association,
recognized that the regulation infringed its
members' constitutional rights to free speech
and equal protection. After an accelerated
proposal process, ACA engaged the law
firm of Seyfarth Shaw, led by attorneys
David Bizar and Robert Carty, to challenge
the regulation and rushed to work with
ACA members to prepare declarations that
attested to the constitutional and economic
harm that the regulation had wrought.
On April 20, ACA filed a complaint and
a motion for a temporary restraining order
and preliminary injunction. Sixteen days
later, on May 6, Judge Richard G. Stearns of
the Federal District Court for the District

ACAINTERNATIONAL.ORG


http://www.ACAINTERNATIONAL.ORG

Collector - July 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Collector - July 2020

Collector - July 2020 - Cover1
Collector - July 2020 - Cover2
Collector - July 2020 - 1
Collector - July 2020 - 2
Collector - July 2020 - 3
Collector - July 2020 - 4
Collector - July 2020 - 5
Collector - July 2020 - 6
Collector - July 2020 - 7
Collector - July 2020 - 8
Collector - July 2020 - 9
Collector - July 2020 - 10
Collector - July 2020 - 11
Collector - July 2020 - 12
Collector - July 2020 - 13
Collector - July 2020 - 14
Collector - July 2020 - 15
Collector - July 2020 - 16
Collector - July 2020 - 17
Collector - July 2020 - 18
Collector - July 2020 - 19
Collector - July 2020 - 20
Collector - July 2020 - 21
Collector - July 2020 - 22
Collector - July 2020 - 23
Collector - July 2020 - 24
Collector - July 2020 - 25
Collector - July 2020 - 26
Collector - July 2020 - 27
Collector - July 2020 - 28
Collector - July 2020 - 29
Collector - July 2020 - 30
Collector - July 2020 - 31
Collector - July 2020 - 32
Collector - July 2020 - 33
Collector - July 2020 - 34
Collector - July 2020 - 35
Collector - July 2020 - 36
Collector - July 2020 - 37
Collector - July 2020 - 38
Collector - July 2020 - 39
Collector - July 2020 - 40
Collector - July 2020 - 41
Collector - July 2020 - 42
Collector - July 2020 - 43
Collector - July 2020 - 44
Collector - July 2020 - 45
Collector - July 2020 - 46
Collector - July 2020 - 47
Collector - July 2020 - 48
Collector - July 2020 - Cover3
Collector - July 2020 - Cover4
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/202007
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/202006
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/202005
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/202004
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/202003
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/202002
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/202001
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201912
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201911
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201910/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201909/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201908/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201907/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201906/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201905/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201904/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201903/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201902/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201901/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201812/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201811/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201810/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201809/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201808/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201807/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201806/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201805/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201804/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201803/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201802/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201801/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201712/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201711/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201710/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201709/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201708/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201707/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201706/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201705/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201704/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201703/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201702/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201701/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201612/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201611/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201610/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201609/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201608/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201607/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201606/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201605/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201604/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201603/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201602/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201601/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201512/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201511/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201510/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201509/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201508/
http://online.collector.com/collectormagazine/201507/
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com