A District Court judge has granted a defendant’s motion to dismiss, ruling it is “preposterous” for a plaintiff to interpret “we will not sue you” in a disclosure related to a time-barred debt as a false statement under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act because it could be read to mean that defendant may change its mind and file suit at a later date.
A copy of the ruling in the case of Will v. Portfolio Recovery Associates can be accessed by clicking here.
The plaintiff defaulted on $7,084.52 of credit card debt, which was purchased by the defendant. The defendant sent a collection letter to the plaintiff, offering several options to repay the debt. The letter also included the following disclosure, “[t]he law limits how long you can be sued on a debt. Because of the age of your debt, we will not sue you for it.” Rather than start making payments, the plaintiff turned around and sued the defendant for violated Section 1692e and 1692f of the FDCPA.
The plaintiff alleges the disclosure is false and misleading because it does not say that he cannot be sued, only that he will not be sued. The defendant, the plaintiff argues, could change its mind at a later date, based on a least sophisticated consumer’s reading of the letter.
But Judge Marcia Krieger of the District Court for the District of Colorado, made short work of the plaintiff’s argument.
“Even the least sophisticated consumer would conclude that this unambiguous language means what it says — that PRA will not, and moreover cannot, sue Mr. Will his debt” Judge Krieger wrote. “Any other interpretation is both unreasonable and borders on the preposterous. It is totally unsupported by the facts alleged. There is no showing that PRA had a present intent to act contrary to the representation made.”