The judge reversed herself in that case.
A law firm that violated the Fair Debt Collection
Practices Act while seeking to collect
unpaid condominium fees on behalf of its
condo association client could not be held liable
under Chapter 93A, a U.S. magistrate
judge has found. Following a bench trial, U.S.
Magistrate Judge Marianne B. Bowler found
that the defendant law firm — Marcus, Errico,
Emmer & Brooks, or MEEB — violated the
FDCPA by communicating directly with the
plaintiff condo owner instead of through his
attorney and by communicating with the
plaintiff’s mortgagees without his consent.
As a result, Bowler found the Braintree firm
per se liable under Chapter 93A pursuant to
state regulation. The law firm argued in a Rule
59(e) reconsideration proceeding that it could
not be held liable under 93A absent a showing
that its conduct arose in the course of trade or
Bowler agreed, noting that she issued her
earlier order prior to the Supreme Judicial
Court’s 2013 Klairmont v. Gainsboro Restaurant,
Inc. decision, in which the SJC indicated
that Massachusetts regulations do not, in fact,
mandate per se 93A liability when a consumer
protection law has been violated.
“[The SJC’s] intervening change in the controlling
law provides a basis for Rule 59(e) relief,”
Bowler wrote, amending her earlier judgment.