A Supreme Court decision could make it easier for consumers to sue collectors for sending erroneous collection notices.

The high court, in a 7-2 opinion Wednesday, ruled that collectors cannot protect themselves from such lawsuits simply by stating they made a legal error when sending a notice.

At issue were the actions of an Ohio law firm, Carlisle, McNellie, Rini, Kramer & Ulrich Co., that mistakenly started foreclosure proceedings on behalf of Countrywide Home Loans Inc. A homeowner later sued the law firm, arguing that it violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act by contending in the foreclosure suit that her alleged debt would be assumed to be valid unless she contested it in writing.

The case will return to a lower court.

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