Judge Denies Defendant’s Motion in FDCPA Case Over Deceased’s Debt

A District Court judge in Louisiana has denied a defendant’s motion for judgment on the pleadings or summary judgment after it was sued for allegedly violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act by, among other claims, failing to properly validate a debt when it attempted to collect from the estate of a deceased individual.

A copy of the ruling in the case of McAdams v. Receivable Recovery Services can be accessed by clicking here.

The defendant sent a collection letter addressed to the estate of Marie McAdams, seeking to collect on an unpaid healthcare debt. Her son, the executor of the estate, responded back and requested validation of the debt. The request was sent via certified mail and was signed for by the defendant 20 days after the initial collection letter was sent. The defendant claims not to have received the validation request until it was emailed to the defendant by the plaintiff’s lawyer after the lawsuit was filed. The defendant sent two more collection letters after the initial request and the plaintiff called the defendant twice to discuss the debt.

The defendant filed its motion, arguing that the plaintiff lacked standing because he is not a “consumer” as defined by the FDCPA, and that each of the claims fails on their merits.

But Judge Brian Jackson of the District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana agreed with the plaintiff that more discovery was needed, especially to figure out what happened with the validation request that was sent by the plaintiff and how it was signed for, but never received by the defendant. The dispute over the “significance and effect” of the validation request is “of critical importance” and the individual who allegedly signed for it and a corporate representative of the defendant should be deposed, Judge Jackson ruled.

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