A District Court Judge in Nevada has denied competing motions for judgment on the pleadings filed by both the plaintiff and defendant in a Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and Telephone Consumer Protection Act case about calls that were made to the plaintiff by the defendant after the debt had been settled.
A copy of the ruling in the case of Carroll v. Medicredit can be accessed by clicking here.
The defendant made an offer to the plaintiff to settle an unpaid medical debt for 70% of the balance, which the plaintiff accepted and paid. Two months after the settlement was posted, the defendant called the plaintiff and left a voicemail, announcing it was a debt collector, referencing the original creditor for the debt that was settled, and requesting a return call. During the next 10 days, two more calls were made, and each time, the same message was left.
The plaintiff filed suit, alleging the calls violated Section 227(b)(1) of the TCPA because when she paid the debt, she effectively revoked consent to be contacted. The defendant argued that consent to be contacted was never revoked. Acknowledging that the TCPA “was designed to prevent the harm alleged” in this case, Judge Kent J. Dawson of the District Court for the District of Nevada, said he had to deny the claims from both the plaintiff and the defendant because neither party provided factual details about how the plaintiff provided her consent to be contacted in the first place.
With respect to the FDCPA claim, that the defendant violated Sections 1692e, 1692e(2)(A), 1692f, and 1692f(1) by trying to collect after the debt had been settled, Judge Dawson was ready to grant the plaintiff’s motion until the defendant invoked the FDCPA’s bona fide error defense. By pleading it as an affirmative defense, the defendant was able to quash the plaintiff’s motion for judgment on the pleadings, allowing it the opportunity to prove the claim that the messages were the result of a bona fide error.