Judge Grants MTD in FDCPA Case Over Calls to Debtor’s Mother

A District Court judge in Georgia has dismissed claims that a collector violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act by calling the mother of an individual with an unpaid debt more than 15 times after the mother had asked not to be contacted, and that the collector meaningfully disclosed its identity in a voicemail left with the mother, ruling that the collector does not have to give the full mini-Miranda notice when leaving messages.

A copy of the ruling in the case of Joe v. Capital Link Management can be accessed by clicking here.

The plaintiff was contacted multiple times by the defendant in an attempt to reach the plaintiff’s daughter about an unpaid debt. The plaintiff told the representative that her daughter lived in another state and asked the defendant not to contact her again. The defendant made at least 15 more phone calls to the plaintiff. One of the voicemails that was left for the plaintiff said,

Hi, my name is Jacob Frame. I am with the legal division for Capital Link Management. This message is intended for Debbie S. Joe. Debbie I do apologize for the inconvenience, but I am reaching out to you today in the hopes that you can get legal notification out to Lauren Sosa referencing a petition for civil judgment and a petition for garnishment [on a debt] of hers which has been filed in my office. I do need to speak with either Laura or a representative attorney of hers as soon as possible. I will be recommending the filing of this matter as of November 21 due to lack of contact. So, if you can have her return my phone call, it would be in her best interest to contact me

The plaintiff filed suit, alleging the defendant violated Sections 1692c(b), 1692e(11), and 1692d(6) of the FDCPA by making a third-party disclosure, making false or misleading representations when attempting to collect on a debt, and not meaningfully disclosing the collector’s identity when making a phone call.

The plaintiff’s biggest problem, according to Judge Steven Grimberg of the District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, is that the FDCPA mainly applies to consumers who owe the underlying debts in question. In this case, the mother did not owe the debt, so she was not able to sue the defendant for violating the FDCPA. Only the daughter would be able to bring a 1692c(b) or 1692e(11) claim, Judge Grimberg ruled.

As for the 1692d(6) claim, by referencing a debt and the reason he was calling, the representative meaningfully disclosed who he was and why he was calling, Judge Grimberg ruled.

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