Judge Grants MTD in FDCPA Class Action Over Judgment Renewals

A District Court judge in Nevada has dismissed – with prejudice – a plaintiff’s class-action complaint that a defendant violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act by filing renewals for a judgment on an untimely basis, ruling that the defendant renewed the judgments within the window set forth by state law.

A copy of the ruling in the case of Miller v. Crisis Collection Management can be accessed by clicking here.

Back in 1997, a default judgment was entered against the plaintiff after his vehicle was repossessed and a deficiency balance remained on his auto loan. The creditor renewed the judgment in 2003, following state law that requires renewal during a 90-day period and a notification sent to the individual within three days of filing the affidavit. The judgment was renewed in 2009, 2015, and 2021 — each time by the defendant. The plaintiff contends that the three renewals were invalid because the affidavits of renewal were mailed too soon and because they were renewed more than 90 days before the anniversary of the docketing of the original judgment. The complaint alleges the improper renewals were false representations and unfair practices under the FDCPA.

Unfortunately, the premise of the plaintiff’s case was incorrect from the get-go, noted Judge James C. Mahan of the District Court for the District of Nevada. Just because the law in Nevada requires creditors to send judgment debtors notification of the renewal of a judgment within three days after filing the affidavit with the court does not preclude the creditor from sending the notification before the affidavit is filed, Judge Mahan ruled, adding that “It would be absurd to punish defendants for being too diligent in notifying plaintiff of the renewal.”

The plaintiff’s contention that the renewal is tied to the anniversary of the original docketing also “borders on nonsensical,” Judge Mahan wrote. The 90-day window is tied to the date the previous judgment was renewed, not the date of the original judgment, he said. “Put another way, each time a creditor renews a judgment, a clock starts, and that creditor must renew the judgment sometime between day 2100 and day 2190 following each renewal.”

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