A District Court judge in Pennsylvania has denied a defendant’s motion to dismiss after it was sued for allegedly violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act because it failed to include a disclosure in a collection letter that a partial payment on a time-barred debt would re-start the statute of limitations.
A copy of the ruling in the case of Cartmell v. Credit Control can be accessed by clicking here.
The plaintiff received a collection letter in regards to a debt where the statute of limitations had expired. The letter offered three options for the plaintiff to repay the debt while also disclosing “[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.” The plaintiff sued, alleging that the letter violated the FDCPA because it did not mention that if he chose one of the repayment options, the statute of limitations may be revived on the debt.
The defendant argued in its motion to dismiss that the plaintiff’s testimony in a deposition proved he did not have standing the sue. During the deposition, the plaintiff allegedly acknowledged he had no intention of repaying the debt, knew that the statute of limitations had expired, did not feel threatened by the letter, and knew that he would not be sued.”
In looking at a surprising number of precedents, Judge Joseph Leeson, Jr. of the District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, ruled that the plaintiff still had standing to sue, even after saying what he said.
“Put simply, it is of no moment that Cartmell did not intend to pay the debt,” Judge Leeson wrote. “Congress conferred upon him a substantive right to receive truthful, non-deceptive information, which Credit Control violated when it sent, and Cartmell received, the Letter in this case. Cartmell’s receipt of the letter was itself the informational harm the FDCPA was enacted to prevent.”