A District Court judge in Missouri has decided there are enough inconsistencies on both sides in a Fair Debt Collection Practices Act case over whether the defendant attempted to contact the plaintiff before 8am local time on two occasions that he has denied the defendant’s motion for summary judgment.
The Background: The plaintiff claims the defendant called him on his cell phone two times before 8am. Section 1692c(a)(1) of the FDCPA states that calls have to be made after 8am in the recipient’s time zone. The plaintiff claimed receiving the calls at such an early hour made his heart race, raised his blood pressure, and induced a migraine.
- The defendant’s records do not show any calls made to the plaintiff before 8am. On the date of the first call, the defendant’s records show a call was placed to the plaintiff at 9:21am, not 7:22am as the plaintiff claims. On the date of the second call, the defendant’s records show calls were placed at 8:50am and 8:51am, not 6:51am as the plaintiff claims.
The Ruling: The issue for Judge Ronnie L. White of the District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri is that neither party has hard data to substantiate their claims. The plaintiff’s cell phone records do not contradict the plaintiff’s version of events, as the defendant claims, and the defendant’s recordkeeping process creates some “mild confusion.”
- While the defendant claimed that calls reflected in its dialer log should not appear in the account notes a vice versa, there are two occasions where duplicate entries appear. While not sufficient to raise an inference that the records are incomplete, it does “lend itself to a possible inference of record inconsistency on the part of Defendant, or at the very least a lack of clarity regarding Defendant’s recordkeeping process,” Judge White wrote.