Consumer Wins Big FDCPA Verdict!

31 Jul Consumer Wins Big FDCPA Verdict!

InsideARM, a accountsreceivablemanagement blog reported today that during the past week, a consumer was awardeda $1.26 Million verdict in a Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) lawsuit in New Mexico. The consumer, a “Lucinda Yazzie”, had brought the lawsuit after the debt collector had attempted twice to garnish wages for a debt that the consumer had disputed with the debt collector.

Lucinda Yazzie told the debt collector, Farnell & Sandlin, a law firm, that she had never had a Target credit card for which they were collecting. Instead of stopping collection, the debt collector obtained a judgment, then attempted to garnish Yazzie’s wages. The wage garnishment was stopped the first time, but then two years later, a second garnishment was served on Yazzie’s employer. That order stayed in effect and a hearing on the order was pending when Yazzie filed the FDCPA case against the debt collector and against Target as well with Robert Treinen, of Albuquerque, New Mexico as her attorney.

During the litigation, it was discovered that Target had supplied the correct account information, social security number and identifying information on a different Lucinda Yazzie to Farnell & Sandlin. However, later in the process, an employee had changed the social security number to that of the Lucinda Yazzie who was eventually garnished.

The jury found that $161,000 in actual damages was appropriate and then awarded $1.1 million in punitive damages.

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act was implemented to protect consumers from unfair, deceptive and illegal acts of debt collectors and damages may be awarded in those cases. Consumers have recently received $311,00o from a Montana jury, according to my colleague Carmen Dellutri of Florida’s blog article. A debt collector is anyone who collects the debts for another, even a law firm can be a debt collector. If your rights have been violated, see an experienced consumer attorney for guidance about whether the FDCPA can be of assistance to you.

photo: istockphoto.com

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I'm a consumer protection lawyer in Oregon, working with people in Klamath; Lake; Jackson; Josephine; Curry; and Deschutes County. I speak regularly on bankruptcy and consumer protection issues nationwide.
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