In Piontek v. IC System, Inc. 2009 WL 1044596 (M.D.Pa. 2009), Judge Rambo held that a Plaintiff seeking emotional distress damages put at issue other lawsuits she had filed.
Here, Plaintiff’s motivation for her actions giving rise to the suit, or for bringing the suit, are irrelevant to the issue of whether Defendants violated the FDCPA through their dealings with her. Plaintiff claims that Defendants violated the FDCPA by (1) contacting her despite knowing that she was represented by an attorney, and (2) making misrepresentations regarding their attempts to contact her attorney. Even if Defendants successfully proved that Plaintiff’s goal was to set them up for a lawsuit, their liability under the FDCPA would not be negated. Accordingly, evidence of Plaintiff’s past lawsuits and YouTube videos are irrelevant if offered by Defendants to prove Plaintiff’s motive, and shall be inadmissible at trial for that purpose. ¶ However, evidence of Plaintiff’s prior lawsuits is relevant if offered by Defendant to negate Plaintiff’s claim for emotional damages. Plaintiff is seeking $5,000 in emotional damages allegedly caused by Defendants’ phone call to her. Evidence of Plaintiff’s past lawsuits is relevant prove, for example, that Plaintiff’s alleged emotional damages were caused by the actions of another debt collector rather than Defendants or that Plaintiff. Accordingly, the challenged evidence is admissible if offered by Defendant to negate Plaintiff’s claim for emotional damages.