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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

District Court denies defendant's motion in FCCPA case

Courts State Issues Florida Debt Collection Consumer Finance TCPA Bankruptcy


On March 25, the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida denied a TV provider’s (defendant) motion for summary judgment while partially granting and partially denying a motion for partial summary judgment from the plaintiff in a Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act (FCCPA) suit. According to the order, the plaintiff allegedly signed up for the defendant’s service, but “pause[d]” the program, which permitted her to suspend her service for nine months for $5 per month. The plaintiff filed for bankruptcy protection, listed the defendant as an unsecured creditor, and obtained a discharge. The plaintiff’s lawyer sent two faxes to the defendant, which disclosed to the defendant that the plaintiff was represented by counsel. The defendant sent five billing notifications and made six calls to the plaintiff, attempting to collect on the $5 monthly payment. A district court granted the defendant summary judgment on claims that it violated the FCCPA and the TCPA. The plaintiff appealed the decision, which affirmed the ruling on the TCPA claim, but reversed the FCCPA ruling, finding that the defendant may have attempted to collect a debt that was discharged and that it contacted the plaintiff after being notified that she was represented by an attorney. According to the order, the court stated that the “[p]laintiff has proffered enough evidence in the record from which a jury could reasonably infer that [the defendant] knew the Pause debt was invalid and that it did not have the right to collect it,” but “[o]n the other hand, considering the evidence in a light most favorable to [the defendant], a jury could reach the opposite conclusion, as [the defendant] has provided record evidence from which a jury could infer [the defendant] did not know that the Pause debt was invalid.”