A District Court judge in Kentucky has granted a defendant’s motion for summary judgment and denied a plaintiff’s motion for the same in a Fair Debt Collection Practices Act case that centers around the Date of First Delinquency and its materiality in inducing the plaintiff to pay off the debt in question.
A copy of the ruling in the case of Long v. Nationwide Recovery Service et al. can be accessed by clicking here.
When reviewing his credit report in 2021, the plaintiff noticed three medical debts. One of the debts had a delinquency date of November 2014. The plaintiff disputed the debt and the defendant replied with billing statements. The plaintiff then paid all three debts.
The plaintiff then filed suit, alleging the defendant violated the FDCPA by communicating information about a debt that was known to be false, namely the dates of first delinquency. The plaintiff argued that he paid the debt with a delinquency date of 2014 even though it was about to age off his credit report.
The main point of the plaintiff’s argument is that the date of first delinquency should have been 30 days after the date of service. The creditor, meanwhile, determined an account to be delinquent when it placed the account for collection. The defendant, then, reported the date of first delinquency as the day before the debt was placed for collection. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, a furnisher can choose a date of first delinquency as long as the creditor did not previously choose one and report it and the furnisher follows reasonable procedures to obtain the date of delinquency from the creditor.
What’s unreasonable about asking the creditor when it considers the account to be delinquent, asked Judge Rebecca Grady Jennings of the District Court for the Western District of Kentucky? Answering her own question, Judge Jennings said there is nothing wrong with it, especially because the plaintiff failed to prove his argument that the 30-day rule is required under the FCRA. Whether the defendant’s selection of the date of first delinquency “was reasonable is a question of fact about which Long has produced scant evidence,” Judge Jennings wrote. “While Long produced some evidence of a thirty-day industry standard, he failed to show that the standard applied to these accounts or that” the defendant violated it.