Judge Denies MTD in FDCPA Case Over Attempt to Collect Unrelated Court Costs

A District Court judge in Alaska — yes, Alaska — has denied a defendant’s motion to dismiss after it was sued for violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act because it accidentally included costs in an unrelated case when filing a motion to recover its litigation costs after successfully suing the plaintiff for the unpaid debt in Alaska — yes, Alaska — state court.

A copy of the ruling in the case of Duvall v. Portfolio Recovery Associates can be accessed by clicking here.

The plaintiff was sued for an unpaid credit card debt and was found liable for the full amount owed. The defendant then filed a motion to recover its legal costs, which was contested by the plaintiff, who requested documentation. The defendant then filed an amended cost bill, admitting it included $1,200 of costs that were attributable to an unrelated case. Ultimately, the defendant was awarded about 60% of what it was seeking.

The plaintiff turned around and filed suit, claiming the accidental inclusion of the additional costs was a violation of Section 1692f(1) of the FDCPA.

The defendant attempted to argue that the suit was a de facto appeal of a state court ruling, but Judge Joshua M. Kindred of the District Court for the District of Alaska, yes Alaska, noted that the claim being brought by the plaintiff was “entirely new” and that the defendant’s liability under the FDPCA was not — and has not — been litigated by the state court judge.

Attempting to collect costs beyond what is owed was one of the reasons why the FDCPA was enacted in the first place, Judge Kindred noted, and the attempt to collect an amount more than what was owed

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