It was largely a run-of-the-mill letter case, regarding whether the Defendant complied with Camacho’s validation notice requirements (it didn’t). But, Judge Koh took time from her busy schedule in the Apple v. Samsung mega-trial to find that California’s elder-abuse statute allowed trebling of a statutory penalty under the Rosenthal Act. (Johnson v. CFS II, Inc., 2013 WL 1809081 (N.D.Cal. 2013)
Cal. Civil Code § 3345. “Whenever the trier of fact makes an affirmative finding in regard to one or more of the following factors, it may impose a fine, civil penalty or other penalty, or other remedy in an amount up to three times greater than authorized by the statute.” Id. Here, the evidence indicates that CFS knew that its conduct was directed at a vulnerable senior citizen. Specifically, CFS’s collection log shows that, when the CFS employees were attempting to reach Johnson, they were looking for someone who was at least 75 years old. See Collection Log at 6 (noting in the collection log that the person on the answering machine may not be the correct Johnson because the voice “sounds younger than 75 years old”); see generally Lohmeyer Dep. at 28:12–19 (explaining that CFS has a database that provides information such as the age of the customer or their birthdate, and that CFS employees use this to make sure that they are contacting the “right person”). In addition, as noted in the collection log, Johnson’s wife told a CFS employee that Johnson had a stroke in 2006 and had not been able to make any decisions on his own since that time. Col-lection Log at 5–6. Collectively, this evidence demonstrates that CFS knew or should have known that its unfair debt collection practices were directed to a vulnerable senior citizen. Accordingly, in order to “punish and deter” CFS, the Court finds it appropriate to treble its award such that CFS shall pay Johnson $5,100.00 in damages.