High court sides with Ohio in debt collection dispute

May 16, 2016

A unanimous Supreme Court says a pair of Ohio law firms did not use illegal tactics when they sent out debt-collection letters on stationery bearing the name of the state’s attorney general.

The justices ruled Monday that the use of official letterhead to collect money owed to state agencies did not violate the federal fair debt collection law.

Two women who received collection notices from the private firms sued, saying it was misleading to send notices on stationery that had the name of Attorney General Mike DeWine and his office seal.

Ohio officials argued that the firms had permission to use the letterhead and were acting as officers of the state.

The decision reversed a 2-1 federal appeals court ruling that the letterhead was a “deception” that could inappropriately influence consumers’ decisions.


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