A District Court judge in Georgia has partially denied a defendant’s motion to dismiss a Fair Debt Collection Practices Act suit — while also partially granting the motion — after a lawyer who filed a collection suit against an individual was sued in a case that involves a transaction where the plaintiff was purchasing $150,000 of military memorabilia.
A copy of the ruling in the case of Daiss v. Robert S.D. Pace can be accessed by clicking here.
The plaintiff, an antique and military memorabilia collector, had an oral agreement with Nicholas Mastopolous to buy a collection for $149,000, mainly for personal use. After Mastopolous died, his son, Peter, formalized the deal with the plaintiff in a written “Sales Contract,” but failed to provide the complete collection as agreed upon. Instead, he sold some of the items that were meant to be part collection that was being purchased by the plaintiff. When the Plaintiff refused to pay the full $149,000 due to the incomplete delivery, Peter’s attorney, the defendant, demanded $137,000 and subsequently filed a lawsuit. A year after being served with the lawsuit, the plaintiff countersued, claiming the defendant falsely tried to collect an unowed debt.
The defendant’s motion to dismiss argued that the plaintiff’s claims were barred by the FDCPA’s one year statute of limitations, that the plaintiff lacked standing to sue, and that the allegations failed to state a claim.
Retaining an attorney to defend himself in the underlying collection suit was enough to convince Judge R. Stan Baker of the District Court for the Southern District of Georgia that the plaintiff had suffered a concrete injury and thus had standing to sue.
Regarding the statute of limitations, Judge Baker ruled that the claims brought by the plaintiff in relation to a letter the defendant sent were barred by the FDCPA’s one-year statute of limitations, but denied the motion related to the claims brought by the plaintiff in relation to the underlying collection suit, for which the plaintiff was served with the complaint on August 20, 2021. The plaintiff filed his suit against the defendant on August 19, 2022. Judge Baker ruled the statute of limitations clock started running when the plaintiff was served, not when the complaint was filed, so the one-year statute of limitations had not yet expired when the plaintiff filed his suit.
The defendant also attempted to argue that the transaction between the plaintiff and Mastopolous’s son was a business one and not a consumer one, but Judge Baker determined the plaintiff’s claim that he had no plans to ever sell the memorabilia was sufficient to meet the threshold that the transaction was for personal, family, or household use.