Lawsuit against finance firms for litany of charges, including defamation, is settled

By Nicholas Malfitano | May 30, 2018


PHILADELPHIA – A Philadelphia plaintiff has settled litigation he filed against a trio of San Diego firms for alleged improper pursuit of credit debt, defamation of character and abuse of process.

Per a praecipe filed by plaintiff counsel Christopher S. Froba on Sept. 20, James Koch’s legal action against Midland Funding, LLC, Midland Credit Management, Inc. and Encore Capital Group, Inc. was requested to be marked as “settled, discontinued and ended” upon payment of costs.

Terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

Koch, of Philadelphia, first filed suit in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas on July 5, 2017 versus the defendants, all of San Diego, Calif.

Per the instant lawsuit, 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 said.

Koch alleged 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.

Before settlement and 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 was 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 was represented by Froba of the Law Office of Marc R. Gordon, in Jenkintown.

Per court records, the defendant did not secure counsel in this matter.

Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas case 170700224

From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at nickpennrecord@gmail.com

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