A federal judge has denied certification of a class-action lawsuit against a collection agency accused of violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act because the named plaintiff is not an adequate representative of the class since it appears his confusion over the name of the creditor in the collection letter he received was only temporary.
A copy of the ruling in Heisler v. Convergent Healthcare Receivables Inc. can be accessed by clicking here.
The plaintiff sued the defendant after receiving a collection letter, attempting to recover on an unpaid debt. In a corner of the letter, along with the date the letter was sent, the amount owed, and the agency account number, it says “Re: WF, Inc – Elmwood Mem”. The plaintiff argued that the defendant did not adequately identify the name of the creditor, which would violate Sections 1692e, 1692e(10), and 1692g(a)(2) of the FDCPA. The plaintiff sought to certify a class of people living in Wisconsin who received a letter which listed “Re: WF, Inc – Elmwood Mem” as the creditor.
However, what the plaintiff might have forgotten is that 10 days before he filed the lawsuit against the defendant, he filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection. In his filing, the plaintiff identified “Convergent Healthcare Recoveries, Inc.” as an entity attempting to collect a debt of $250.00 owed to “Elmbrook Memorial.” Ten days after filing for bankruptcy, the plaintiff then sued the defendant, alleging he was confused by the name of the creditor in the collection letter.
In applying the judicial estoppel doctrine, the judge ruled that the plaintiff did not meet the requirements for being an adequate representative of the class and therefore denied certification.