A District Court judge in Pennsylvania has dismissed a plaintiff’s Fair Debt Collection Practices Act suit on his own, without even needing a motion from the defendant, ruling the plaintiff’s attempt to sue the defendant after it obtained a default judgment is “not plausible.”
A copy of the ruling in the case of Grooms v. Sklar Law can be accessed by clicking here.
The defendant, on behalf of a creditor, filed a collection lawsuit against the plaintiff and obtained a default judgment. The plaintiff has tried several times — unsuccessfully — to open the default judgment, and when that didn’t work, she filed a lawsuit against the collection law firm, choosing to represent herself. The collection law firm has sent numerous letters to the plaintiff attempting to collect on the judgment, including post-judgment discovery requests and interrogatories.
The plaintiff’s suit accuses the defendant of violating Sections 1692c(a)(1), 1692d, 1692g, 1692i, and 1692j of the FDCPA.
Judge Joshua D. Wolson of the District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, appears to give the plaintiff every courtesy he can extend, but easily counters each of the plaintiff’s claims with the facts of the underlying collection lawsuit and subsequent efforts to collect on the default judgment. For example, with respect to the 1692d claim, there is nothing to allege that the letters sent by the defendant to the plaintiff could be misconstrued to be “harassing, misleading, unfair, or abusive,” Judge Wolson wrote. The letters “do not contain obscene or profane language,” he wrote. “Two of the letters enclose post-judgment interrogatories in connection with the state court litigation and request that Ms. Grooms complete them. The third letter informs Ms. Grooms that her attempt to vacate the default judgment violates the relevant court rules and informs her that if she does not withdraw the motion, Sklar would avail itself of judicial remedies.”
With respect to the 1692g claim, Judge Wolson notes that the post-judgment letters that were sent were not initial communications — that came all the way back in 2019. The claim that the defendant violated Section 1692g(b) of the FDCPA “by either failing to validate the debt or continuing to make efforts to collect upon it are therefore baseless,” the judge wrote.