A District Court judge in Connecticut has awarded a defendant nearly $42,000 in fees and costs after it was sued and won a motion for summary judgment for allegedly violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act by not using its proper name in a collection letter sent to the plaintiff.
A copy of the ruling in the case of Cobb v. Enhanced Recovery Company can be accessed by clicking here.
The plaintiff received a collection letter from the defendant that referred to itself as ERC, for which the defendant had a registered trade name under the National Multistate Licensing System. Nonetheless, the plaintiff filed suit, alleging the letter violated the FDCPA by not disclosing the true name of the defendant.
After more than two years of legal wrangling and multiple attempts by the plaintiff to settle the case, a judge granted the defendant’s motion for summary judgment, ruling that the use of ERC was acceptable based on the steps the defendant had taken to register the acronym. The judge also “chastised” the plaintiff for her attempt to “stretch the ‘least sophisticated consumer’ standard to undermine established precedent.”
After winning summary judgment, the defendant filed a motion for sanctions, accusing the plaintiff of acting in “bad faith and for the purpose of harassing ERC into settling rather than defending this matter.”
Ruling that the plaintiff had “at best misconstrued and at worst intentionally misinterpreted” the particular section of the FDCPA she used as the basis for her lawsuit because she made no attempt to prove she was misled or deceived by the use of the acronym in the collection letter, the judge granted the defendant’s motion for sanctions.
In a ruling where attempt after attempt by the plaintiff to argue her case are shot down by the judge, she ultimately awarded the defendant $41,871.95 in fees and costs.