Friday, January 10, 2014

The Solicitor General's Style Guide

The Solicitor General’s Style Guide has been published for the first time since 1941 and, according to the book, no copies of the 1941 edition are known to still exist. It is available from in both a print and a Kindle edition.

The Style Guide was published in November and, at that time, discussed by the Blog of Legal TimesSCOTUSblog, Legal Writing Pro, etc. If you write briefs, it is a good guide to add to your shelf. 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Third District Grants Prohibition Based Upon Stand Your Ground Law

In Mobley v. Florida (3D13-1566), the Third District Court of Appeal released a split opinion today, granting a petition for writ of prohibition. The majority opinion was written by Judge Wells who was joined by Chief Judge Shepherd. The dissent was written by Judge Salter. The end result is the trial court’s order denying immunity to a man that shot two people is quashed and he will not be tried. The 23 page opinion (including the dissent) is worth reading if the stand your ground law is of interest to you. It also presents a situation where the stand your ground law is actually applied—which seems relevant given the frequency of debate about the law.

11th Circuit Holds It Is A Violation of the FDCPA To Charge Flat Collection Fee When Not In Contract

In Bradley v. Franklin Collection Services Inc., the Eleventh Circuit addressed an issue relating to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and adopted the Eighth Circuit’s view on this particular issue.

In Kojetin v. CU Recovery, Inc., 212 F.3d 1318, 1318 (8th Cir. 2000) (per curium), the Eighth Circuit “held that the debt collector violated the FDCPA when it charged the debtor a collection fee based on a percentage of the principal balance of the debt due rather than the actual cost of collection.” The Eleventh Circuit, in today’s published opinion, now joins the Eighth Circuit. 

In this case, “When Bradley signed Urology’s patient registration form, he only agreed to pay 'all costs of collection.' That is, Bradley agreed to pay the actual costs of collection; his contractual agreement with Urology did not require him to pay a collection agency’s percentage-based fee where that fee did not correlate to the costs of collection.” 

“Before Urology handed over Bradley’s delinquent account to Franklin, it added a 33-and-1/3% 'collection fee.' Franklin failed to direct this Court to any evidence that the 33-and-1/3% ‘collection fee'—which was assessed before Franklin attempted to collect the balance due—bears any correlation to the actual cost of Franklin’s collection effort. As such, the 33-and-1/3% fee breaches the agreement between Bradley and Urology, since, contractually, Bradley was only obligated to pay the ‘ osts of collection.

Based upon those facts, the court held “that Franklin violated the FDCPA when it collected from Bradley a debt that included a 33-and-1/3% ‘collection fee’ when Bradley only agreed to pay the actual costs of collection.” Notably, the court also stated that “this is not to say that Bradley and Urology could not have formed an agreement allowing for the collection of the percentage-based fee.”