In Wiebe v. Zakheim & Lavrar, P.A., 2012 WL 5382181 (M.D.Fla. 2012), Judge Smith found that a debt collector had adequately pleaded facts supporting a ‘bona fide error’ affirmative defense.
The Defendant’s First Affirmative Defense of “bona fide error,” is based upon 15 U.S.C. § 1692k(c) which provides that under the FDCPA, a debt collector is shielded from liability if it can show by a preponderance of the evidence that “the violation was not intentional and resulted from a bona fide error notwithstanding the maintenance of procedures rea-sonably adapted to avoid any such error .” Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 9(b) states that “[i]n all averments of fraud or mistake, the circumstances constituting fraud or mistake shall be stated with particularity.” A claim of bona fide error is tantamount to a claim of mistake and therefore, the Defendant must plead this defense with the particularity required by Rule 9(b). Konewko v. Dickler, Kahn, Sloikowski & Savell, Ltd., No: 07 C 5338, 2008 WL 2061551 *1 (N.D.Ill. May 14, 2008); and Bradshaw v. Hilco Receivables, LLC, 725 F.Supp.2d 532, 537 (D.Md .2010). This generally means alleging “the who, what, when, where and how: the first paragraph of any newspaper story.” General Elec. Capital Corp. v. Lease Resolution Corp., 128 F.3d 1074, 1078 (7th Cir.1997) (quoting DiLeo v. Ernst & Young, 901 F.2d 624, 627 (7th Cir.1990)). The Defendant has sufficiently alleged that it has policies and procedures for the filing of complaints, including that complaints be filed in the appropriate county. Defendant further alleges that it deviated from its policy in this case as the result of a bona fide error. This is sufficient under the circumstances so that Plaintiff should not be unfairly surprised by the defense.