In Boon v. Professional Collection Consultants, — F.Supp.2d —-, 2013 WL 3973084 (S.D.Cal. 2013), Judge Huff found that California’s litigation privilege barred an RFDCPA claim based on filing a collection lawsuit that, purportedly, was barred by the statute of limitations.
Moreover, the Court concludes that California’s litigation privilege bars Plaintiff’s RFDCPA claims. The California litigation privilege applies to any publication or broadcast made in any judicial proceeding. Cal. Civ.Code § 47(b). The privilege is absolute in nature and is “applicable to any communication, whether or not it amounts to a publication, and all torts except malicious prosecution.” See Silberg v. Anderson, 50 Cal.3d 205, 215 (1990) (citations omitted). The litigation privilege applies to “any communication (1) made in judicial or quasi-judicial proceedings; (2) by litigants or other participants authorized by law; (3) to achieve the objects of the litigation; and (4) that have some connection or logical relation to the action.” Silberg, 50 Cal.3d at 212. Plaintiff’s only allegation is that Defendant PCC filed a lawsuit against Plaintiff allegedly outside of the applicable statute of limitations. Defendant’s conduct falls within the litigation privilege. Taylor v. Quall, 458 F.Supp.2d 1065, 1067–69 (C.D.Cal.2006) (dismissing RFDCPA claim based on time-barred debt suit because of litigation privilege); see also Nickoloff v. Wolpoff & Abramson, L.L.P., 511 F.Supp.2d 1043, 1045 (C.D.Cal.2007) (holding litigation privilege applies to RFDCPA claims); Lopez Reyes v. Kenosian & Miele, LLP, 525 F.Supp.2d 1158, 1161–1165 (N.D.Cal.2007) (same); Cassady v. Union Adjustment Co., No. C07–5405, 2008 WL 4773976, at *6–7 (N.D.Cal. Oct. 27, 2008) (same). Moreover, Plaintiff makes no allegations that Defendant engaged in conduct otherwise violative of the RFDCPA such that application of the litigation privilege would run afoul of the purpose of the RFDCPA. See Oei v. N. Star Capital Acquisitions, 486 F.Supp.2d 1089, 1092, 1100 (C.D.Cal.2006) (finding RFDCPA prevailed over litigation privilege because application in that case would have “effectively immunized conduct that the Act prohibits” such as “repeated, continuous and harassing telephone calls”). This is not an instance where Defendant engaged in otherwise prohibited debt collection practices under the guise of litigation. Based on Plaintiff’s limited allegations, Defendant’s conduct is shielded by the litigation privilege in this instance. See Lopez Reyes, 525 F.Supp.2d at 1161–1165 (applying litigation privilege to RFDCPA claim where “the only allegedly wrongful debt collection practices in the … case occurred entirely in the context of the filing of a state court complaint to recover a debt”).