Pennsylvania Federal Court Complaint Against Portfolio Recovery Associates

January 11th, 2011 by krista

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA

 John Doe                         Plaintiff, v. PORTFOLIO RECOVERY ASSOCIATES, LLC                              

 Defendant.                                  

 

  Civil Action No.

 

AMENDED Complaint

  1. This is an action for damages brought by an individual consumer for Defendant’s violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1692, et seq. (hereafter the “FDCPA”), and the Pennsylvania Fair Credit Extension Uniformity Act, 73 P.S. § 2270.1 et seq. (hereafter the “FCEUA”), constituting unfair and deceptive acts and practices under the Pennsylvania Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law, 73 P.S. § 201-1, et seq. (hereafter the “UTPCPL”).  These laws prohibit debt collectors from engaging in abusive, deceptive, and unfair collection practices.

JURISDICTION AND VENUE

  1. Jurisdiction of this Court arises under 15 U.S.C. § 1692k(d), 28 U.S.C. § 1331, 1337, and supplemental jurisdiction exists for the state law claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367.
  2. Venue lies in this district pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b).

PARTIES

  1. John Doe is an adult individual residing at in Pennsylvania.
  2. Defendant Portfolio Recovery Associates, Inc. is a business entity incorportated in the State of Delaware that regularly conducts business in Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, with its principal office located at 120 Corporate Boulevard, Norfolk, Virginia 23502.  The principal purpose of Defendant is the collection of debts already in default using the mails and telephone, and Defendant regularly attempts to collect said debts.

FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS

 

  1. At all pertinent times hereto, Defendant was hired to collect a dedt relating to an account with GE Money Bank F.S.B./Old Navy (hereafter the “debt”).
  2. The alleged debt at issue arose out of transaction which was primarily for personal, family or household purposes.
  3. On or about August 10, 2010, Defendant wrote and sent directly to Plaintiff by U.S. mail a collection or “dunning” letter (hereafter referred to as the “8/10/10 Letter”), which, inter alia, attempted to coerce Plaintiff into paying the debt (A true and correct copy of the 8/10/10 Letter is attached as Exhibit “A” and is incorporated herein).
  4. At all pertinent times hereto, the 8/10/10 Letter was the initial communication to Plaintiff  by the Defendant. Additionally, Defendant did not send any written communications to Plaintiff with respect to the alleged debt within five days after the above initial communication.
  5. On or about August 16, 2010, Plaintiff  promptly sent Defendant a letter requesting verification of the debt (hereafter referred to as the “8/16/10 Letter”)  (A true and correct copy of the 8/16/10 Letter is attached as Exhibit “B” and is incorporated herein).
  6. Notwithstanding the above, in or around September 2010, Defendant contacted Plaintiff by telephone in an attempt to collect the debt without having provided Plaintiff with verification of the debt.  Plaintiff advised he had sent Defendant a letter requesting validation of the debt, received no response from Defendant and requested that Defendant cease contacting him until verification was sent by Defendant.
  7. On or about September 29, 2010, Defendant wrote and sent directly to Plaintiff by U.S. mail a collection or “dunning” letter, failing to provide validation of the debt (hereafter referred to as the “9/29/10 Letter”), which, inter alia, attempted to coerce Plaintiff into paying the debt (A true and correct copy of the 9/29/10 Letter is attached as Exhibit “C” and is incorporated herein).
  8. On or about October 13, 2010, Plaintiff then sent Defendant another letter advising that the previous correspondence from Defendant was inadequate and again requested verification of the debt (hereafter referred to as the “10/13/10 Letter”) (A true and correct copy of the 10/13/10 Letter is attached is attached as Exhibit “D” and is incorporated herein).
  9. Notwithstanding the above, in or around late October 2010, Defendant began contacting Plaintiff again by telephone in an attempt to collect the debt without having sent Plaintiff verification of the debt.  Plaintiff  advised Defendant’s representative that he had sent another letter requesting verification of the debt, but Defendant falsely claims that the letter was not received that that Defendant would continue to dunn Plaintiff.
  10. Plaintiff as such has continued to receive repeated calls from Defendant through the current date.
  11. Defendant acted in a false, deceptive, misleading and unfair manner by communicating with Plaintiff after being notified in writing that the Plaintiff disputes the debt without providing verification of the debt to the Plaintiff.
  12. The Defendant acted in a false, deceptive, misleading and unfair manner by continuing to communicate directly with Plaintiff with regards to the debt after Plaintiff had notified Defendant in writing to cease further communications.
  13. Defendant acted in a false, deceptive, misleading and unfair manner by causing a telephone to ring or engaging any person in telephone conversation repeatedly or continuously with intent to annoy, abuse, or harass any person at the called number.
  14. Defendant acted in a false, deceptive, misleading and unfair manner by misrepresenting the character, amount, or legal status of the debt.
  15. Defendant acted in a false, deceptive, misleading and unfair manner by engaging in conduct the natural consequence of which is to harass, oppress, or abuse such person in connection with the collection of a debt.
  16. Defendant acted in a false, deceptive, misleading and unfair manner by using unfair or unconscionable means to collect or attempt to collect any debt.
  17. Defendant knew or should have known that its actions violated the FDCPA. Additionally, Defendant could have taken the steps necessary to bring its agent’s actions within compliance with the FDCPA, but neglected to do so and failed to adequately review those actions to insure compliance with said laws.
  18. At all times pertinent hereto, Defendant was acting by and through its agents, servants and/or employees, who were acting within the scope and course of their employment, and under the direct supervision and control of the Defendant herein.
  19. At all times pertinent hereto, the conduct of Defendant as well as its agents, servants and/or employees, was malicious, intentional, willful, reckless, negligent and in wanton disregard for federal and state law and the rights of the Plaintiff herein.
  20. As a result of Defendant’s conduct, Plaintiff has sustained actual damages, including, but not limited to injury to Plaintiff’s reputation, invasion of privacy, damage to Plaintiff’s credit, out-of-pocket expenses, emotional and mental pain and anguish, embarrassment, humiliation, damage to reputation and pecuniary loss and will continue to suffer same for an indefinite time in the future, all to their great detriment and loss.

Count I – Violations of the FDCPA

  1. Plaintiff incorporates the foregoing paragraphs as though the same were set forth at length herein.
  2. Defendant is a “debt collector” as defined by 15 U.S.C. § 1692a(6) of the FDCPA.
  3. Plaintiff is a “consumer” as defined by 15 U.S.C. § 1692a(3) of the FDCPA.
  4. The above contacts between Defendant and Plaintiff were “communications” relating to a “debt” as defined by 15 U.S.C. § 1692a(2) and 1692a(5) of the FDCPA.
  5. Defendant violated the FDCPA through its pattern and practice in attempting to collect the alleged debts from Plaintiff. Defendant’s pattern and practice of conduct includes , but is not limited to, violations of 15 U.S.C. §§ 1692c(c) (communicating with Plaintiff after Plaintiff had notified Defendant in writing to cease contacting him), 1692d (harassing Plaintiff), 1692e (using false, deceptive, or misleading representation to collect), 1692e(2)(A) (falsely representing the character, amount or legal status), and1692f (using unfair or unconscionable means to collect), as evidenced by the following conduct:

(a)                Communicating with a consumer after notifying Defendant in writing that the consumer disputes the debt without providing verification of the debt to the consumer;

(b)               Contacting consumers after they had notified Defendant in writing to cease contacting them;

(c)                Causing a telephone to ring or engaging any person in telephone conversation repeatedly or continuously  with intent to annoy, abuse, or harass any person at the called number;

(d)               Misrepresenting the character, amount, or legal status of the debt;

(e)                Engaging in conduct the natural consequence of which is to harass, oppress or abuse any person in connection with the collection of a debt; and

(f)                Otherwise using false, deceptive, misleading and unfair or unconscionable means to collect or attempt to collect the alleged debt from Plaintiff.

  1. Defendant’s acts as described above were done with malicious, intentional, willful, reckless, wanton and negligent disregard for Plaintiff’s rights under the law and with the purpose of coercing Plaintiff to pay the alleged debt.
  2. As a result of the above violations of the FDCPA, Defendant is liable to Plaintiff in the sum of Plaintiff’s statutory damages, actual damages and attorneys’ fees and costs.

COUNT II – VIOLATION OF THE FCEUA & UTPCPL

  1. Plaintiff incorporates the foregoing paragraphs as though the same were set forth at length herein.
  2. Defendant is a “debt collector” as defined by 73 P.S. § 2271.3 of the FCEUA.
  3. The above contacts between Defendant and Plaintiff were “communications” relating to a “debt” as defined by 73 P.S. § 2271.3 of the FCEUA.
  4. Defendant engaged in unfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices, as defined by the UTPCPL, by attempting to collect the alleged debt in violation of the FCEUA. Defendant’s violations of the FCEUA and UTPCPL include, but are not limited to, violations of 73 P.S. § 2270.4(a), as evidenced by the following conduct:

(a)    Communicating with a consumer after notifying Defendant in writing that the consumer disputes the debt without providing verification of the debt to the consumer;

(b)   Contacting consumers after they had notified Defendant in writing to cease contacting them;

(c)    Causing a telephone to ring or engaging any person in telephone conversation repeatedly or continuously with intent to annoy, abuse, or harass any person at the called number;

(d)   Misrepresenting the character, amount, or legal status of the debt;

(e)    Engaging in conduct the natural consequence of which is to harass, oppress or abuse any person in connection with the collection of a debt; and

(f)    Otherwise using false, deceptive, misleading and unfair or unconscionable means to collect or attempt to collect the alleged debt from Plaintiff.

  1. Defendant’s acts as described above were done with malicious, intentional, willful, reckless, wanton and negligent disregard for Plaintiff’s rights under the law and with the purpose of coercing Plaintiff to pay the alleged debt.
  2. As a result of the above violations of the FCEUA and UTPCPL, Plaintiff has suffered ascertainable losses entitling Plaintiff to an award of actual, statutory and treble damages and attorneys’ fees and costs.

Count III – Invasion of Privacy

  1. Plaintiff incorporates the foregoing paragraphs as though the same were set forth at length herein.
  2. Defendant’s conduct, including but not limited to continuing to attempt to collect the debt from Plaintiff without providing Plaintiff with verification of the debt which Plaintiff had requested on multiple occasions, constitutes an invasion of privacy.
  3. The conduct of Defendant was a direct and proximate cause, as well as a substantial factor, in bringing about the serious injuries, damages and harm to Plaintiff that are outlined more fully above and, as a result, Defendant is liable to compensate Plaintiff for the full amount of actual, compensatory and punitive damages, as well as such other relief, permitted under the law.

JURY TRIAL DEMAND

  1. Plaintiff demands trial by jury on all issues so triable.

PRAYER FOR RELIEF

WHEREFORE, Plaintiff respectfully prays that relief be granted as follows:

(a)    Actual damages;

(b)   Statutory damages;

(c)    Punitive damages;

(d)   Costs and reasonable attorneys’ fees; and

(e)    Such other and further relief as may be just and proper.

Respectfully Submitted,

FRANCIS & MAILMAN, P.C.

BY:    /s/ Mark D. Mailman

MARK D. MAILMAN, ESQUIRE

GREGORY J. GORSKI, ESQUIRE

Land Title Building, 19th Floor

100 South Broad Street

Philadelphia, PA 19110

(215) 735-8600

Attorneys for Plaintiff


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