Our client came to us alleging that the junk debt collector Midland Funding, LLC and its debt collection law firm Pressler & Pressler, LLP violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). According to the federal lawsuit she eventually filed in New Jersey, she alleged that the debt collectors sued her for an alleged junk debt in a far away location where she could not readily defend herself. She alleged that suing her in a far away location violated the FDCPA’s venue provisions that specifically provide where debt collectors may legally file debt collection lawsuits.
After filing suit, our client settled her damages for $5,750.00 to compensate her for her actual and other damages in dealing with an allegedly unlawful debt collection lawsuit filed against her hundreds of miles from her home. Although the defendants did not specifically admit to any wrongdoing, she and Midland Funding and Pressler & Pressler could not determine reasonable compensation for our attorney’s fees and costs. Instead, our client was forced to file a petition with the Court asking it to decide our reasonable fees and costs in providing her with professional legal services.
On August 11, 2011, a federal judge recommended that our client’s petition be resolved for $10,613.22 against Midland Funding and Pressler & Pressler. The Court found that we should be paid this sum of money as compensation for our time and costs expended in her litigation. Then, on October 28, 2011, another federal judge adopted those recommendations and entered an order compelling the defendants to pay us the $10,613.22. Altogether Midland Funding and/or Pressler & Pressler will pay $16,363.22 to settle our client’s allegations that they violated the FDCPA.
Although a consumer’s damages and his or her attorney’s fees are highly variable when seeking damages under the FDCPA, Congress was certain in providing a tangible means of encouraging debt collectors to treat consumers fairly: money. While most consumers seeks our legal services just to stop unfair or harassing debt collection, any consideration for money they may be entitled to is just an afterthought. But, often debt collectors only understand the “language” of money. In passing the FDCPA, Congress hoped that the possibility of having significant sums of money extracted from their operations would keep debt collectors fair and honest. Perversely, however, it still might be more profitable to violate the FDCPA than to comply. More consumers must come forth to re-balance the scales of justice; debt collectors will not alter their behavior until it costs them too much not to.