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DISCLAIMER: This article is based on a complaint. The defendant has not responded to the complaint to present its side of the case. The claims mentioned are accusations and should be considered as such until and unless proven otherwise.
A trio of class-action lawsuits have been filed against a pair of defendants for allegedly violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act because they opted not to use the Model Validation Notice and allegedly did not include the validation information or consumer response information. Two of the lawsuits were filed against the same defendant in New York state court and have been removed to federal court by the defendant. The third case was filed in Minnesota federal court.
Copies of the complaints can be accessed by clicking here, here, and here. Copies of letters in question can be accessed by clicking here, here, and here.
Among lawsuits filed since Regulation F went into effect, accusing collectors of not including validation information has been one of the more popular types of claims to make. Many defense attorneys advocated that companies in the ARM industry use the Model Validation Notice as published by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau because those who did not use it could become targets for consumers and their attorneys. Companies don’t have to use the Model Validation Notice, but do have to include certain pieces of information in order to comply with Regulation F.
The two suits filed in New York against the same collector both involved attempts to collect on an unpaid medical debt. The lawsuit filed in Minnesota relates to a home improvement renovation debt that the plaintiff disputed because of issues related to the the work that was done and damage that was done to the plaintiff’s home.
Each of the three suits seek to include others who received similar letters from the defendants as members of the class.
One of the things I am looking for when I review complaints these days are the claims made by the plaintiff to prove he or she has standing to sue. The two New York claims were originally filed in state court, so the burden to prove standing might be different than it is in federal court. The Minnesota case detailed the monetary damages suffered by the plaintiff:
- Damages to Auguston’s property caused by Innovative including a broken pipe and screen, which she was never reimbursed for;
- A loss of income due to Innovative’s repeated delays of the project which affected her ability to work and take on new clients while she was at home monitoring the ongoing project; and
- A loss of income from her tenant who contracted to live in the basement but could not move into it due to Innovative’s delays in the project.