Judge Denies Competing Summary Judgment Motions in FDCPA Case

A District Court judge in Oklahoma has denied a defendant’s motion for summary judgment and a plaintiff’s motion for partial summary judgment in a Fair Debt Collection Practices Act case, ruling that, among other reasons, the migraines suffered by the plaintiff are sufficient for her to have standing to sue, and that there is a genuine issue of material fact whether the defendant had policies and procedures in place to avoid the alleged violation thus preventing it from invoking the Bona Fide Error defense.

A copy of the ruling in the case of Leichliter v. Optio Solutions can be accessed by clicking here.

The plaintiff notified the defendant via certified letter that she was refusing to pay the alleged debt in question. The defendant admitted it sent a letter to the plaintiff after receiving the refusal to pay, but claimed the plaintiff lacked standing to sue and that it was entitled to the Bona Fide Error defense.

Judge Stephen P. Friot of the District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma goes into a lengthy analysis to determine that the plaintiff has standing to sue, first because she suffered from emotional distress in the form of migraines, which is a physical manifestation and adequate evidence of a tangible concrete harm, and because the receipt of a single letter is sufficient evidence of a factual injury under the intrusion by seclusion theory.

Moving on to the defendant’s claim that it was entitled to the Bona Fide Error defense, Judge Friot ruled there were genuine issues of material facts as to whether the defendant satisfied the last two prongs of the test needed to invoke the BFE. While the defendant contended it maintained policies and procedures intended to avoid such violations from occurring, Judge Friot didn’t see it the same way.

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