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Barbara Fernandez focuses her litigation practice in the areas of consumer and class action litigation. She has extensive experience in the defense of individual and class action claims involving the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act, Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), Fair Credit Reporting Act, and the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, and practices regularly in Florida state and federal courts. Her clients include lending institutions, debt collection agencies, debt buyers and lawyers. Ms. Fernandez has designed and conducted training workshops for clients in the consumer lending industry regarding compliance with the FDCPA, FCRA and TCPA.

In addition, Ms. Fernandez has experience in handling Magnusson-Moss warranty claims, Florida Lemon Law matters, actions involving vicarious liability of rental and leasing companies, as well as defending claims involving catastrophic personal injuries, motor vehicle accidents, construction site accidents, defamation and civil theft.

Professional Background

Ms. Fernandez is Co-Chair of Hinshaw’s Hispanic/Latino Attorney Network and is also a member of the Evaluation Committee for Hinshaw’s Attorney Life Committee.

Ms. Fernandez currently serves as a supervising attorney at Florida International University College of Law's Medical-Legal Partnership Clinic where she teaches consumer protection law and supervises student-lawyers handling consumer claims.

In 2000, while still in law school, Ms. Fernandez served a judicial internship with the Third District Court of Appeal. In addition to her other law school accomplishments, Ms. Fernandez served as Vice President of the Hispanic Law Student Association.

Professional Affiliations

  • Hispanic National Bar Association

  • Cuban American Bar Association
  • Dade County Defense Bar Association
    • Board Trustee
    • Past President (three terms)
  • The Florida Bar
  • American Bar Association
  • American Collector’s Association, Members Attorney Program

Honors & Awards

  • Recipient of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation's 40 Under 40 Outstanding Lawyers of South Florida Award, August 2014.
  • Named as one of Diversity MBA Magazine’s Top 100 Under 50 Diverse Executive & Emerging Leaders, July 2013.
  • Selected as one of the Daily Business Review’s "Rising Stars," which recognizes South Florida lawyers aged 40 and under who have made a significant impact at their law firms on behalf of their clients and respective communities, September 2013.
  • Selected as one of South Florida Business Journal’s “40 Under 40,” which recognizes South Florida’s brightest up-and-coming professionals under 40 years of age for their professional success and community involvement, June 2012.

Representative Matters

A selection of Ms. Fernandez’s representative cases includes:

  • Obtained summary judgment in defense of debt buyer where court found that debt buyer reasonably relied on the electronic records provided to it by the creditor and conducted a reasonable investigation of debtor's dispute based upon the information provided by debtor, and therefore, did not violate the Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 U.S.C. §1681.  (Lead counsel, M.D.Fla. 2015).

  • Jordan v. ER Solutions, Inc., 10-62409-CIV, 2012 WL 5245384 (S.D. Fla. Oct. 18, 2012), obtained summary judgment in defense of debt collector where court found consumer gave express consent to automated collection calls from debt collector as term and condition of her purchase from underlying creditor, and therefore, calls did not violate the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), 47 U.S.C.A. § 227(b)(1)(A).
  • Obtained summary judgment in defense of debt collector and imposition of sanctions against debtor's counsel for unreasonably continuing to pursue meritless claims warranting a finding of bad faith in FDCPA action. (Co-counsel, Southern District of Florida).
  • Bolanos v. First Investors Servicing Corp., 2010 WL 4457347 (S.D. Fla. Oct. 29, 2010), where the court dismissed plaintiff's case and compelled arbitration, finding that claims under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act are not exempted from arbitration.
  • Valencia v. Affiliated Group, Inc., 2009 WL 4893113 (S.D. Fla. September 21, 2009), where the court made an across-the-board reduction of 60 percent to plaintiff's attorney's fees and costs under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act because plaintiff's attorney wasted time and energy attempting to obtain additional equitable relief unmistakably precluded by case law only to recover one dollar less than defendant had offered in an Offer of Judgment ten months earlier.
  • Keston v. Firstcollect, Inc., 2007 WL 4225593 (S.D. Fla. October 31, 2007), where a debt collection agency did not have sufficient minimum contacts with Florida to permit Florida district court to exercise personal jurisdiction over it under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (even though the agency had a license in Florida), given that agency had not directed any collection efforts to Florida in connection with the debtor.
  • Conner v. BCC Financial Management Services, Inc., 489 F.Supp.2d 1358 (S.D. Fla. 2007), where the court held that, under Florida law, a consumer does not have a private cause of action against a debt collection agency for its alleged failure to maintain a registration with the state of Florida.

Presentations

Ms. Fernandez is a former co-editor of Hinshaw’s Consumer & Class Action Litigation Newsletter, which is published monthly. Her presentations include:

  • "Top 10 TCPA Violations: Prevention and Defenses," Lorman Education Services, webinar, June 2016.
  • Ethical Governance Day 2014, speaker, Commission on Ethics & Public Trust, Miami-Dade County, October 2014.
  • "Defending FDCPA Claims Based On Collection Letters," Lorman Education Services, live seminar, August 2014.
  • "Defending FDCPA Claims Arising From Collection Letters," Lorman Education Services, live audio conference, August 2013.
  • "An Introduction to Consumer Protection Laws," Choice Legal Group, P.A., Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, May 2013.
  • "Defending FDCPA Claims Arising From Collection Letters," Lorman Education Services, live audio conference, February 2013.
  • "Protecting the Integrity and Security of Neuropsychological Examinations," Dade County Defense Bar Association, Miami, Florida, November 2007.
  • "Vicarious Liability in Florida Regarding the Use of Motor Vehicles," Sedgwick Claims Management, Troy, Michigan, July 2004.

Hinshaw Publications

Personal

Barbara is a native of Miami, Florida. She currently lives in Coral Gables, Florida with her husband and their two young sons. 

Community/Civic Activities

  • Lawyers for Children America, Volunteer
  • Florida Bar YLD Law Student Division Mentoring Program, Volunteer

Education

J.D., University of Miami School of Law, 2001

  • Member, Miami Entertainment and Sports Law Review

B.S., cum laude, Florida International University, 1997

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Languages