In Savage v. NIC, Inc. 2009 WL 2259726 (D.Ariz. 2009) , Judge Teilborg explained the quantum of evidence necessary for a finding of harassment, as well as whether 15 U.S.C. § 1692e(4), which prohibits a debt collector from representing or implying to a plaintiff that nonpayment will result in garnishment of wages unless such action is lawful and the debt collector intends to take such action, requires a current right to do so or prohibits explaining to the debtor the ultimate consequences of their actions. As to the former, the Court explained:
The Court finds that Defendant’s conduct is not excluded, as a matter of law, from the characterization of language that the natural consequence of which is to abuse. See U.S. v. Central Adjustment Bureau, Inc., 667 F.Supp. 370, 396 (N.D.Tex.1986), aff ‘d as modified on other grounds, 823 F.2d 880 (5th Cir.1987) (finding that shouting is considered abusive behavior); Rutyna v. Collection Accounts Terminal, Inc., 478 F.Supp. 980 (D.Ill.1979) (finding that, where the tone of a communication was one of intimidation, the natural consequence was abuse). As the Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in Jeter v. Credit Bureau, Inc., 760 F.2d 1168, 1179 (11th Cir.1985) observed, “Ordinarily, whether conduct harasses, oppresses, or abuses will be a question for the jury.” Defendant’s argument that the statute does not apply to tone of voice fails because Defendant does not cite to any case law or legislative history to support the argument, the Court cannot find any case law to support it, and the Court finds that such an interpretation is contrary to one of the purposes of the statute “[t]hat every individual, whether or not he owes the debt, has a right to be treated in a reasonable or civil manner.”123 Cong. Rec. 10241 (1977).
As to the latter, Judge Teilborg explained:
Given the protectionist nature of the FDCPA, the Court interprets the statute to mean that garnishment of wages must be a legal recourse at the moment that the representation is made. Under Arizona law, wages cannot be garnished until after a party in an action has been awarded a money judgment and has submitted an application for a writ of garnishment. SeeA.R.S. § 12-1598.04. Defendant acknowledged this fact in his deposition. (Dep. of Nemerovsky at 24:16-25:6.) Because Defendant had not procured a judgment at the time of the alleged representation, the garnishment of wages was an illegal action. Even though the Court finds that, in this case, garnishment of wages would be an illegal action as a matter of law, the Court declines to award Plaintiffs with summary judgment because, after careful review of the depositions, the Court finds that a genuine issue of material fact remains as to whether Defendant made any such representation. Defendant states in his deposition that he does not recall referencing wage garnishment in the September 18 phone call. (Dep. of Nemerovsky at 24:14-16.) FN2. The Court, however, limits this interpretation to cases where creditors lead debt-ors to believe that garnishment of wages will result and where such action is not immediately legal. The Court takes no position on whether it would be lawful for a creditor to inform a debtor that wages may be garnished in the event that the creditor seeks and obtains a judgment.