Judge Grants TRO Against Defendant in FDCPA Case

It’s uncommon to see court rulings that relate to debt collection efforts that are ongoing, but that’s what we have in this situation. A District Court judge in Illinois has granted a plaintiffs’ motion for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction that orders the defendant in a Fair Debt Collection Practices Act case to stop engaging in abusive communications toward the plaintiffs.

A copy of the ruling in the case of Bhanti v. The Collection Law Firm can be accessed by clicking here.

A lawsuit was filed on June 30, 2022, accusing the defendant of harassing the plaintiffs in relation to a debt that is allegedly owed by the plaintiffs’ adult son to a client of the defendant. The complaint accuses the defendant of calling the two plaintiffs 20 times between June 19 and June 21 and that the defendant informed the plaintiffs that he will continue calling family, friends, and business interests of the plaintiffs until the son’s debts are paid.

The plaintiffs retained counsel, who sent a notice to the defendant indicating that the plaintiffs were being represented and that the defendant was not to contact the plaintiffs directly. The defendant allegedly responded in an email that he would not cease or desist.

After receiving the communication, the defendant called the plaintiffs’ business associates and employees more than 40 times between June 25 and June 30.

The defendant argued that the underlying debt is a business debt and thus not subject to the FDCPA. But the defendant has not yet presented evidence that the debt is owed by a business, noted Judge Michael M. Mihm of the District Court for the Central District of Illinois.

Ultimately, the protections being sought by the plaintiff “go as far as to require Defendants’ compliance with the law,” Judge Mihm wrote. “Accordingly, Defendants will suffer no harm in that they are only being ordered to do that which is already legally required of them.”

The defendant stated during the hearing that he would not contact the plaintiffs directly.

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