In Young v. Northland Group, 2018 WL 306023, at *1–2 (E.D.Mo., 2018), Judge Autrey allowed an FDCPA claim to proceed based on the consumer’s allegation that the debt collector did not immediately cease communications about the debt after the debtor notified the debt collector of representation by bankruptcy counsel.
“The purpose of the FDCPA is to eliminate abusive debt collection practices by debt collectors,…and debt collectors are liable for failure to comply with any provision of the Act.” Dunham v. Portfolio Recovery Assocs., LLC, 663 F.3d 997, 1000 (8th Cir. 2011) (citation omitted). The FDCPA is liberally construed to protect consumers. Istre v. Miramed Revenue Grp., LLC, No. 4:14CV1380 DDN, 2014 WL 4988201, at *2 (E.D. Mo. Oct. 7, 2014). The Act’s prohibitions apply to collection efforts through litigation, but at the same time, the Act seeks to preserve the judicial remedies of creditors. Hemmingsen v. Messerli & Kramer, P.A., 674 F.3d 814, 818 (8th Cir. 2012). The determination of whether a plaintiff states a claim under the FDCPA based on litigation conduct is best decided on a case-by-case basis. Id., at 819. Although Defendant argues that its inquiry was merely a permissible business inquiry, its question goes beyond merely asking a case number or contact information. Its question was more substantive and reaching; it inquired into Plaintiff’s intentions regarding the debt in question. As Plaintiff points out, knowing whether Plaintiff was planning on filing bankruptcy could lead to a whole new avenue in its efforts to collect the debt. Thus, whether the inquiry rises to the level of a violation must be determined by the trier of fact.
This is consistent with another decision from the Missouri district court holding that on oral notice of representation, the debt collector must terminate the call, and, if the debt collector continues collection efforts on the call, it will violate the FDCPA. Robin v Miller & Steeno, P.C. (ED Mo, July 29, 2014, No. 4:113CV2456 SNLJ) 2014 US Dist Lexis 102815.