Case 7:11-cv-01037-ER-GAY Document 47 Filed 04/10/13 Page 1 of 2
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
ELIZABETH COBLE, MILAGROS HARPER and
DENNIS HARPER, on behalf of themselves and
all others similarly situated,
11 Civ. 1037 (ER)(GAY)
COHEN & SLAMOWITZ, LLP, DAVID COHEN, ESQ,
MITCHELL SLAMOWITZ, ESQ., LEANDRE JOHN, ESQ.
and CRYSTAL S.A. SCOTT, ESQ.,
Before the Court is a discovery dispute concerning plaintiffs’ discovery demand for
the personal income tax returns of defendants David Cohen and Mitchell Slamowitz for
the years 2009 - 2012. Plaintiffs asserts that the tax returns are relevant to substantiate
the net worth of said defendants.
In class actions under the Fair Debt Collection
Practices Act recoverable damages are limited to the lesser of $500,000 or 1% of the
debt collector’s net worth. See 15 U.S.C. § 1692k(a)(2)(B)(ii). Plaintiffs contend that
defendants Cohen and Slamowitz are debt collectors personally involved in the
collection of the accounts at issue herein. Defendants set forth that they have offered to
provide net worth statements prepared by accountants and sworn to be said
defendants. Defendants also contend that said defendants were not personally
involved in the collection of the debt; and that disclosure of sensitive tax returns should
not be required given their offer to provide sworn net worth statements.
Case 7:11-cv-01037-ER-GAY Document 47 Filed 04/10/13 Page 2 of 2
The Court concludes that plaintiffs have made a sufficient threshold showing that
defendant Cohen and defendant Slamowitz were personally involved in the collection of
the accounts herein. As such, the net worth of said defendants would be relevant to the
issue of recoverable class damages. See Miller v. Abrams, Fensterman, Fensterman,
Eisman, Greenberg, Formato & Einiger, LLP, No. CV 10-2156, 2011 WL 6105033, at *2
(E.D.N.Y. Dec. 7,2011). However, net worth discovery of individual defendants is often
provided by less intrusive means than income tax returns.
Simon v. Williams &
Fudge, Inc., No. 07 Civ. 2856, 2008 WL 268294, at *1(SDNY Jan. 28, 2008)(sworn
affidavits stating net worth including balance sheets listing assets and liabilities ordered
for punitive damages discovery); see
Sabatelli v. Allied Interstate, Inc., No. 05-32-
5, 2006 WL 2620385 (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 13, 2006); Collins v. City of New York, 222 F.R.D.
249, 254 (S.D.N.Y. 2004).
Accordingly, the Court directs defendant Cohen and defendant Slamowitz to provide
net worth statements prepared by licensed accountants and sworn to be said
defendants for the years requested by plaintiffs. The Court will give plaintiffs leave to
renew their request for the tax returns if upon a review of the net worth statements they
can demonstrate a compelling need for the same.
Dated April 9 2013
White Plains, New York
GEORGE A. YANTH1fr U.SMJ.