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Judge Grants MTD in FDCPA Case Over Lack of Response

In another one of those “if you get a letter from a debt collector saying you need to contact them, please do so” cases, a District Court judge in Indiana has dismissed a case against a collector that was accused of violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act because it did exactly what it said it would do in letters sent to the plaintiff.

A copy of the ruling in the case of Newman v. Lloyd & McDaniel, PLC and Midland Funding, LLC can be accessed by clicking here.

The plaintiff entered into a payment arrangement with a debt collector after it obtained two judgments in relation to unpaid credit card debts. The plaintiff authorized the defendant to make automatic deductions from her bank account every month for the payments. Three months later, the account was transferred to another debt collector — the defendant. The defendant sent a number of letters to the plaintiff, informing her that the account had been transferred and inviting her to contact the defendant to make the same arrangements as she had with the original collector. The plaintiff did not contact the defendant, and the defendant subsequently began to garnish the unpaid debts from her bank account.

The plaintiff filed suit, alleging the collector violated the FDCPA and arguing that the letters the defendant sent were “too generic” for her to believe they applied to her situation.

Judge Holly Brady of the District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, Fort Wayne Division, made short work of the plaintiff’s arguments.

“Although the allegations in the Complaint support the Plaintiff’s subjective state of mind, including her understanding that payments would continue with no further action required by her, they do not show that this understanding was based on any misleading assurances from the Defendants,” Judge Brady wrote. “As stated above, the communication from L&M was just the opposite — that additional action was needed to continue with any arrangements the Plaintiff previously had,” with the original collector.

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