Judge Rules Attorneys Fees Discoverable in FDCPA Class Action

In a case that is being defended by the team at Malone Frost Martin, a District Court judge in Texas has granted a defendant’s motion to compel documents related to the plaintiff’s attorneys’ fees, costs, fee arrangements, and billing records in a Fair Debt Collection Practices Act class-action lawsuit, ruling that the information is discoverable.

A copy of the ruling in the case of Perez v. McCreary, Veselka, Bragg & Allen can be accessed by clicking here.

The plaintiff filed the class-action suit, alleging the defendant violated the FDCPA by not informing the plaintiff in a collection letter that the statute of limitations on the debt in question had expired and that the defendant did not inform the plaintiff who may assume the debt to be valid in its validation notice, which said “Unless within 30 days after you receive this notice you dispute the validity of the debt or a portion thereof, the debt will be assumed to be valid.”

In arguing that the attorneys’ fees, costs, fee arrangements, billing records, engagement letters, and/or invoices are not discoverable, the plaintiff asserted that, because the case is a class action, attorneys’ fees documents are not discoverable because they are not relevant to class certification. But Judge Andrew Austin of the District Court for the Western District of Texas, Austin Division, said the information is relevant because it will help the defendant assess its total liability in the case.

Judge Austin noted that this case is not necessarily distinguishable from two other cases in which District Court judges ruled that the attorneys’ fees were not relevant unless the plaintiff prevailed on their FDCPA claims.

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