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Federal judge denies Englewood lawyer increased damages based on ‘extravagant’ claim

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot

ONLY ON CVP: A “novel and extravagant” argument by Englewood attorney Miriam Cohen was rejected by a federal judge, who awarded her a fraction of requested fees after disagreeing that 15 violations can be drawn from a single phone message left by a debt collector.

U.S. District Judge William Martini said Cohen “undercut attempts to settle” what became a lengthy case, after which the attorney sought $29,210 in fees and costs, by pursuing an “unsupported legal theory.”

During that time, the judge added, Cohen ignored repeated attempts by American Credit Bureau to settle the matter.

It was “essentially the same” deal she eventually accepted “after waiting several months and accruing tens of thousands of dollars in additional legal fees,” he noted.

Martini accepted a previous judge’s recommended award of $1,046.75 in attorney’s fees and $453, for a total of $1,499 – more than the $1,001 in statutory damages won by Cohen from American Credit Bureau.

Alternate claims are one thing, Martini said.

But Cohen’s attempt to multiply the violations and seek compensation for pursuing each, under the federal Fair Debt Collection Act, he wrote, was “little more than a litigation tactic that multiplied the proceedings and unnecessarily increased Plaintiff’s attorney’s fees.”

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