Single Debt Collection Call in Lupia v Medicredit & FDCPA

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The recent decision of the United States Supreme Court TransUnion v. Ramirez decision on standing under Article III was debated at length and applied by the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeal in Lupia c. Medicredit, Inc., — F. 4th —, 2021 WL 3627103 (August 17, 2021). Even if Lupia involves the application of the good faith defense of error of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”), it is important, for the purposes of this blog, because of its application of TransUnion v. Ramirez finding that the plaintiff had standing on the basis of the receipt of a single telephone call.

Medicredit, Inc. (“Defendant”) has been retained to collect an unpaid debt allegedly owed by Plaintiff Elizabeth Lupia (“Plaintiff”) for medical services. After receiving the correspondence from the defendant demanding payment, the plaintiff sent a letter disputing the debt and asked the defendant to cease communications. It was not disputed that the Respondent received the letter on May 7, 2018, but did not process it until May 10, 2018. Unfortunately for the Respondent, he launched a debt collection appeal on May 8, 2018, the day after receipt of the applicant’s termination. and letter of withdrawal. The plaintiff made a claim under the FDCPA.

The Tenth Circuit first looked at the Applicant’s position. The Respondent argued that the Applicant suffered no actual prejudice because the Applicant’s complaint was based on the receipt of a single telephone call. The Tenth Circuit began its analysis with the decision of the United States Supreme Court in Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins and immediately focused his attention on the “concrete” requirement. Quoting extensively TransUnion v. Ramirez, the Tenth Circuit concluded that the harm suffered by the plaintiff was sufficiently concrete to confer on him standing.

In making this decision, the court noted both Speak and Ramírez forced him to look to history and the judgment of Congress in making this decision. Starting with a historical discussion and following the advice provided by Ramírez, the Tenth Circuit found that the plaintiff’s claims were similar to the tort of “trespassing on seclusion”. The court quickly rejected the defendant’s argument that a single phone call was not enough to result in an actionable trespass, noting: at common law – an unwanted intrusion into the peace and quiet of ‘an applicant. Username. at 5.

As for the “judgment of Congress”, the Tenth Circuit recognized Ramírezinstructions from Congress that Congress cannot “just promulgate an injury to existence.” Username. In the court’s view, the plaintiff was not relying on a mere procedural violation. On the contrary, the plaintiff’s claims had “roots in a long tradition of common law”. Username. to 6.

The remainder of the opinion provides an in-depth discussion of the defense of good faith error under the FDCPA. Ultimately, the Tenth Circuit rejected the defendant’s arguments and concluded that the defendant “cannot find refuge under the defense of good faith error because we cannot find anything on the record to show that its policies. have been designed to avoid making unauthorized phone calls to [Plaintiff], or others like her. Username. At 11 o’clock.

Practical advice: The courts begin to apply the permanent judgment of Article III of the TransUnion v. Ramirez to various consumer protection claims beyond the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Industry should keep a close eye on the application of each circuit.

See the discussion of TransUnion v. Ramirez here.

Copyright © 2021 Womble Bond Dickinson (US) LLP All rights reserved.Revue nationale de droit, volume XI, number 252


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