In Fleming v. Heaton, the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that the tort damages arising from a conversion cause of action do not arise out of a “transaction” under the FDCPA’s definition of “debt”. The Court of Appeals explained:
We have held that “at a minimum, a ‘transaction’ under the FDCPA must involve some kind of business dealing or other consensual obligation.” Turner, 362 F.3d at 1227. The FDCPA, therefore, does not apply where a defendant attempts to collect a state court judgment for damages as a result of tortuous conduct. Id. at 1228. Other circuits have addressed criminal wrongdoing or tortious acts in the context of FDCPA claims, concluding that the obligation to pay for criminal or tortious actions does not constitute a “debt.” See, e.g., Bass v. Stolper, Koritzinsky, Brewster & Nader, S.C., 111 F.3d 1322, 1326 (7th Cir. 1997) (“[A]lthough a thief undoubtedly has an obligation to pay for the goods or services he steals, the FDCPA limits its reach to those obligations to pay arising from consensual transactions, where parties negotiate or contract for consumer-related goods or services.”); Zimmerman v. HBO Affiliate Group, 834 F.2d 1163, 1168 (3d Cir. 1987) (“[N]othing in the statute or the legislative history leads us to believe that Congress intended to equate asserted tort liability with asserted consumer debt.”); Hawthorne v. Mac Adjustment, Inc., 140 F.3d 1367, 1371 (11th Cir. 1998) (holding that “debt” under the FDCPA is limited to liability arising out of consensual, consumer transactions, and not tortious activity).