A District Court judge in Indiana has granted a plaintiff’s motion to compel depositions in a Fair Credit Reporting Act and Fair Debt Collection Practices Act case that features a few interesting twists and turns. The judge also issued a warning to the plaintiff’s attorney because the defendant claims that the plaintiff has repeatedly refused requests for a settlement demand in the case.
A copy of the ruling in the case of Barker v. Midland Credit Management is available by clicking here.
The plaintiff already won a motion for summary judgment in state court in this case regarding the collectability of the account, but the attorney representing the defendant failed to report the entry of the adverse summary judgment ruling, so it mistakenly verified the account in response to dispute letters it received between the conclusion of the original case and when the complaint in this case was filed.
The plaintiff is seeking to depose dispute investigators, their supervisors, and the person responsible for credit reporting and the credit dispute policy at the defendant. The intended purpose of the depositions is to establish whether the compensation package for dispute investigators was tied to speed rather than accuracy.
The defendant argued that the only actual damages claimed by the plaintiff were for the costs of postage in mailing the dispute letters and that the plaintiff is using the depositions to “ascertain the value of her claims, even though the Midland has provided all information and documents concerning the events at issue, including the complete credit reporting history for the account, spreadsheets showing Midland’s receipt and response to the dispute letters, and its policies and procedures for investigating credit reporting disputes.”
But Magistrate Judge Andrew P. Rodovich of the District Court for the Northern District of Indiana ruled that the depositions are necessary to determine if the defendant acted willfully and if there is a viable claim for punitive damages.