Differing Amounts in Documents Leads Judge to Deny MTD in FDCPA Case

A District Court judge in Kentucky has dismissed claims that a collection law firm violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act when it sued to collect on an unpaid debt, but denied a motion to dismiss over claims that the defendant violated the FDCPA over discrepancies in the amount owed that were communicated to the plaintiff in the collection complaint, a verification letter, and in account statements from the original creditor.

A copy of the ruling in the case of Fooks v. Mason, Schilling, & Mason Co., can be accessed by clicking here.

The defendant filed a lawsuit against the plaintiff in an attempt to collect an unpaid medical debt. The complaint listed the amount owed at $546.60. When he was served with the complaint, the plaintiff wrote to the defendant, seeking verification of the debt. The defendant responded with a letter that indicated the amount owed was $670.73 and included statements from the original creditor that reflect $0.00 was owed. The plaintiff subsequently filed suit, alleging the documents violated Section 1692e(2) and 1692e(10) of the FDCPA, along with other violations.

The defendant argued that the amount referenced in the verification letter reflects interest and court costs, and the $0.00 in the statements is there because the creditor charged off the debt. The differing amounts, ruled Judge Grgeory Van Tatenhove of the District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky, Central Division in Lexington, could confuse a least sophisticated consumer.

Judge Van Tatenhove dismissed claims that the discrepancies violated Section 1692e(8) of the FDCPA, as well as claims that filing a lawsuit against the Mr. Fooks violated Section 1692d of the FDCPA by harassing him, and Section 1692f of the FDCPA that the lawsuit represented an unfair or unconscionable means to collect on a debt.

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