A District Court judge in Maryland has granted a defendant’s motion to compel arbitration and dismiss a Fair Debt Collection Practices Act class action, ruling that an underlying collection suit did not violate the terms of the agreement between the creditor and the plaintiff because the actions that led the plaintiff to file the lawsuit — allegedly harassing and rude debt collection calls — occurred after the collection suit was filed.
A copy of the ruling in the case of Ford v. UHG I can be accessed by clicking here.
The plaintiff took out a personal loan that was subsequently purchased by the defendant. The plaintiff stopped making payments on the loan, and the defendant filed a collection lawsuit against the plaintiff in November 2021. Months earlier, the plaintiff alleges, he began receiving “frequent and rude” collection calls about the loan.
The plaintiff’s agreement with the original creditor included an arbitration clause that bound either party as well as subsequent holders to the terms of the contract. The plaintiff attempted to argue that the defendant was not a party to the original agreement, and that the defendant waived its right to arbitration when it filed its collection lawsuit.
Reading the terms of the original agreement, Judge Lydia Kay Griggsby of the District Court for the District of Maryland agreed with the defendant that the plaintiff’s “claims in this action are subject to a valid arbitration agreement.”
With respect to the underlying collection lawsuit, Judge Griggsby admitted the plaintiff got closer to convincing her that the arbitration clause had been voided, but ultimately ruled that the defendant did not act “inconsistently” with its right to arbitrate. The claims brought by the defendant had nothing to do with the underlying collection suit — the calls in question occurred months before the collection suit was filed, Judge Griggsby noted.