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Judge Grants Motion for Judgment for Defendant in FDCPA Letter Case

A District Court judge in Illinois has granted a defendant’s motion for judgment on the pleadings after it was sued for allegedly violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act by not properly identifying the current creditor in a collection letter, ruling that the plaintiff’s lack of understanding of the identity of the current creditor “defie[d] logic.”

A copy of the ruling in the case of Osideko v. L J Ross Associates, Inc., can be accessed by clicking here.

The plaintiff received a collection letter from the defendant. On the top-righthand corner and in the bottom-righthand corner of the letter, there was a notation that read: Current Creditor: Wec (2134) (PEOPLES GAS & COKE COMPANY). The plaintiff filed suit, alleging the letter violated Section 1692g of the FDCPA because he could not determine whether the debt was owed to Wec Energy Group or to Peoples Gas & Coke Company.

Judge Sara Ellis of the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, made short work of the plaintiff’s arguments.

Along with identifying the creditor — not creditors — in two separate places in the letter, the letter listed a single account number, indicating the debt was only owed to one entity.

“It defies logic that even the unsophisticated consumer intuits no relationship at all, including common lay-relationships like ‘doing business as’ or ‘also known as’ from one name followed by another in parentheses and capital letters,” Judge Ellis wrote. “Furthermore, Osideko’s claim that he does not know to whom he owes the debt, or who he should pay does not hold water,” because of how the defendant identified the current creditor in the letter.

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