Judge Makes Ruling on TCPA & FDCPA Violations
An Illinois District Court judge partially denied summary judgment in a case involving a defendant being sued for allegedly violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The defendant was accused of placing 20 calls during a two-month period in an attempt to reach parties who weren’t the plaintiff.
According to details from the case, the plaintiff was called 20 times by the defendant who was trying to reach two different individuals. None of the individuals the defendant asked to speak to was the plaintiff. The plaintiff’s identity was stolen, but she was not aware that public records connected her cell phone number to the two individuals.
Although most of the calls were hung up on by the plaintiff, she recalls speaking with a representative from the defendant on five separate occasions. During all five conversations, the plaintiff told the representatives she was not the person they were trying to contact. During one of these conversations, a representative of the defendant threatened to garnish her wages if she did not make a payment. Court records show that one of the calls lasted a total of 61 seconds.
The plaintiff filed lawsuits alleging the defendant violated Section 1692d, 1692e, and 1692f of the FDCPA. The judge denied the defendant’s motion for summary judgment for each violation. In his ruling, the judge stated that the average number of calls made each week, especially the 61-second call, amounted to harassment, and denied the summary judgment motion for the 1692d violation.
The judge also ruled that telling the plaintiff their wages could be garnished was a clear violation of FDCPA. Thus, the judge denied the summary judgment motion on the 1692e violation. Regarding the denial of the 1692f motion, the judge wrote that it is possible a jury might “conclude that, by way of harassment and false threats, defendant sought to collect from plaintiff a debt that it knew or should have known that she did not owe.”