State Court Judge Grants MSJ For Defendant in FDCPA Case Over Complaint Filed in Wrong Venue

In a case that is emblematic of the type of debt collection cases now finding their way into state courts across the country, which was defended by Christopher Morris from Bassford Remele and Danielle Savington from Savington Law Offices, a state court judge in Nebraska has granted a defendant’s motion for summary judgment in a Fair Debt Collection Practices Act case because it was entitled to the bona fide error defense after allegedly filing a collection lawsuit against the plaintiff in the incorrect venue.

A copy of the ruling in the case of Gartner v. AR Solutions can be accessed by clicking here.

After attempting to voluntarily collect a debt from the plaintiff, the defendant filed a collection lawsuit against the plaintiff in Nemaha County, Nebraska. The defendant used a skiptracing database to obtain the mailing address for the plaintiff and its counsel reviewed the search results and verified them prior to filing the collection lawsuit. The plaintiffs, who lived in Pawnee County, Nebraska, only became aware of the suit after being contacted by an unnamed attorney who sent a letter attempting to solicit the plaintiffs as a client. The complaint was never served on the plaintiff and was later dismissed.

The plaintiffs filed suit, alleging the defendant violated Sections 1692e, 1692e(2)(A), 1692f, 1692f(1), 1692d(1), and 1692i(a)(2)(B) of the FDCPA.

The defendant, in filing the motion for summary judgment, argued it was entitled to the FDCPA’s bona fide error defense because the alleged violation was not intentional, and that it had procedures in place and were followed to try to avoid the error that was caused.

Judge Rodney D. Reuter of the Court of Lancaster County, Nebraska, ruled that the plaintiffs failed to produce any evidence to show that the alleged violation was intentional and was not the result of a bona fide error.

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