In Tourgeman v. Nelson & Kennard, here, the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that the Plaintiff bore the burden of proving the defendant’s net worth under the FDCPA’s penalty provision.
Here, Tourgeman had every opportunity to acquire evidence of Nelson & Kennard’s net worth. A protective order was entered to give Tourgeman access to Defendant’s financial information, and Nelson & Kennard was ordered to produce it. Tourgeman obtained hundreds of pages of bank statements, copies of checks, tax returns, and deposition testimony regarding Defendant’s financial condition. FDCPA plaintiffs seeking evidence of net worth “are not peculiarly at a disadvantage in the discovery of necessary facts[.]” Thomas, 525 F.3d at 1114. Tourgeman also argues that placing the burden on the plaintiff would increase litigation costs, make discovery battles inevitable, and generally discourage class actions under the FDCPA. But “[w]hatever merits these and other policy arguments may have, it is not the province of this Court to rewrite the statute to accommodate them.” Artuz v. Bennett, 531 U.S. 4, 10 (2000) (per curiam); see also Correia v. C.I.R., 58 F.3d 468, 469 (9th Cir. 1995) (“Although [plaintiffs] put forth what may be a legitimate policy rationale[,] . . . it is for Congress, not the courts, to make such a change.” (citation omitted)). We think the statute is clear, and our inquiry ends there.