Judge Grants MSJ For Plaintiff in FDCPA Case Over Collectors Working Remotely

A District Court judge yesterday granted a plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment, ruling that a collection agency that allowed collectors and other staff to work remotely violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and ordered the agency to bring all employees back to the office. The case is expected to spawn other lawsuits across the country against collection agencies that have allowed and continue to allow employees to work remotely.

A copy of the ruling, in the case of Gotcha v. Recovery United Billing Enterprise (RUBE) can be accessed by clicking here.

The plaintiff received a collection letter and calls from the defendant, which had employees working remotely because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The plaintiff filed suit, alleging that during the course of a conversation he was having with a representative of the defendant, a noise could be heard in the background. The noise was the representative’s pet bird, which was repeating what it heard over the speakerphone being used by the representative.

The plaintiff filed suit, alleging the defendant violated the third-party disclosure provisions of the FDCPA because the bird could allegedly recite the information about the plaintiff and that anyone visiting the representative’s residence might learn that information.

Similar to the ruling in Hunstein, which led to thousands of other lawsuits being filed against companies in the accounts receivable management industry, the Gotcha ruling, issued by Judge Upton O. Goode, is likely to cause headaches for collection agencies nationwide.

“It is impossible to know whether any other representatives of the defendant have birds who can talk, horses who can use their hooves to count and spell, or other animals who might be able to communicate,” Judge Goode wrote. “The defendant’s attempt to keep its employees safe during a global pandemic is outweighed by the strict liability of the FDCPA.”


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One comment

  1. You got me again, Mike! I should have known. You got me last year too. Good ones!

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