Philly man believes California company improperly pursued debt against him in violation of federal laws

By Nicholas Malfitano | Jul 13, 2017

PHILADELPHIA – A plaintiff from Philadelphia has filed legal action against a San Diego firm that allegedly pursued a credit card debt claim against him improperly and violated several finance laws in the process, and simultaneously committed defamation against him and abuse of process.

James Koch of Philadelphia filed suit in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas on July 5 versus Midland Funding, LLC, Midland Credit Management, Inc. and Encore Capital Group, Inc., all of San Diego, Calif.

The defendants filed a statement of claim against Koch on Nov. 2, 2016 in the Philadelphia Municipal Court for a total of $2,903.38, which included an alleged debt of $2,768.38 from a Webbank/Fingerhut credit account.

Koch opposed the claim, which the defendants failed to prosecute at trial on April 17, and a non-appealable judgment was entered for Koch. But, Koch alleges the defendants failed to inform the relevant credit bureaus that the supposed debt was in dispute.

“Plaintiff further alleges and avers that defendants continue to make false reports to the credit reporting bureaus stating that plaintiff’s account is past due and/or that he owes $2,768.38. Therefore, defendants have willfully misrepresented the amount, character and legal status of the alleged debt of plaintiff, which is a violation of both the FDCPA and FCEUA. It is also a violation of the FCRA. Additionally, defendants have engaged in ‘fraudulent or deceptive conduct which creates a likelihood of confusion or of misunderstanding. Based on the foregoing, defendants have defamed plaintiff and have also engaged in abuse of process,” the complaint says.

Koch alleges the defendants did not show legal authority to collect the alleged debt or any substantive evidence connected to the alleged debt, and used illegal means to attempt to collect it.

For counts of alleged violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) Fair Credit Extension Uniformity Act (FCEUA), Pennsylvania Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law (UTPCPL), Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), defamation and abuse of process, the plaintiff is seeking compensatory damages including those for emotional distress, $1,000 in actual and statutory damages for each violation of the FDCPA, treble damages, actual damages, punitive damages as permitted by law, attorney’s fees, witness fees, court costs, other litigation costs and other relief as deemed appropriate by the Court in this matter.

The plaintiff is represented by Christopher S. Froba of the Law Office of Marc R. Gordon, in Jenkintown.

Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas case 170700224

From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at

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