Judge Grants MSJ for Defendant in FCRA, FDCPA Case Over Disputed Debt

A District Court judge in Pennsylvania has granted a defendant’s motion for summary judgment after it was sued for violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act by allegedly reporting inaccurate information to the credit reporting agencies and allegedly failing to produce the requested information when the plaintiff disputed the debt with the defendant.

A copy of the ruling in the case of Campbell v. LVNV Funding can be accessed by clicking here.

Background: The plaintiff took out a $20,000 loan for dental work and never made a payment on the debt, which was sold to the defendant and then placed with another company for collection. The plaintiff received a collection letter from the company and requested validation of the debt. The plaintiff was sent a letter that included the plaintiff’s name and address, the current account information, as well as historical account information including the name of the original creditor. The defendant then began furnishing information to the credit reporting agencies.

FCRA Claims: The plaintiff claimed the defendant violated Sections 1681s-2(a) and 1681s-2(b) of the FCRA. Section 1682s-2(a) does not include a private right of action and 1681s-2(b) is only triggered when a credit reporting agency is notified by a consumer that a tradeline is being disputed. The plaintiff never notified a credit reporting agency of a dispute, so Judge Wendy Beetlestone of the District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania didn’t have to do much to find for the defendant on those claims.

FDCPA Claims: The plaintiff claimed the defendant violated Sections 1692d, 1692e, 1692f, 1692g, and 1692j of the FDCPA, but Judge Beetlestone immediately granted summary judgment to the defendant on the 1692d, 1692f, and 1692j claims because the plaintiff did not provide any evidence to suggest how the defendant violated those sections.

  • Regarding the 1692e claim, the plaintiff says that the defendant reported a loan that was actually denied, reported the debt as a “student loan”, failed to mark the debt as disputed, failed to record on-time payments, and re-aged the debt. But the plaintiff did not put forth any evidence to back up his claims, Judge Beetlestone noted.
  • On the 1692g claim, the plaintiff argued the defendant failed to provide any documentation bearing the plaintiff’s signature or provide the underlying agreement of the debt. But — as many of you reading at home will know — there is no such requirement for a defendant to provide that information when a debt is disputed.
  • The plaintiff also claimed the defendant took longer than 30 days to respond to the dispute, but there is nothing in the FDCPA that says a collector has to respond in that timeframe, Judge Beetlestone wrote. The timeframe is only for the debtor to dispute the debt.

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