Not knowing when to quit is going to cost a plaintiff after the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that an attempted appeal on a summary judgment ruling and jury award in favor of a group of collection agencies was “frivolous” and awarded one of the agencies attorney fees and double costs.
The case has been remanded back to the District Court in Colorado to determine the fees and costs owed by the plaintiff to the defendant.
The plaintiff — Michael Collins — filed suit against three collection agencies and three credit bureaus for allegedly violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the Fair Credit Reporting Act. A magistrate judge granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants on all but two claims. The case proceeded to a jury trial on those two claims and in both cases, the jury found in favor of the defendants. The plaintiff filed a motion for a new trial, which was denied.
A copy of the ruling can be accessed by clicking here.
The plaintiff argued that one of the defendants — Diversified Consultants, Inc. — did not conduct a thorough enough investigation of a dispute filed by the plaintiff in regards to an unpaid cable bill. The Appeals Court rejected all of the plaintiff’s arguments, upholding the summary judgment and jury award in favor of DCI.
In his other claim, an unpaid debt was disputed and by the plaintiff and the defendant — Medicredit — deleted it and ceased reporting it to the credit reporting agencies. But when it changed to a new software platform four years later, the debt re-appeared on the plaintiff’s credit report. Less than a week after Medicredit was notified that the re-appearing debt was being disputed, it deleted the debt and stopped reporting it. The plaintiff subsequently sued, claiming the re-appearance of the debt was a violation of the FDCPA. A jury ruled that the plaintiff did not prove his claim against Medicredit.
The plaintiff challenged the instructions made to the jury by the magistrate judge, but the Appeals Court rejected every argument, appearing to become less and less patient with the appeal as it progressed through all of the plaintiff’s claims.
As is apparent from our discussion of Mr. Collins’ appellate arguments, his appeal is “wholly without merit;” therefore, his appeal is frivolous.
Medicredit separately filed a motion to be awarded attorney’s fees and double costs on appeal, which the Appeals Court granted.