Michigan Federal Court Holds That Frequent Calls is Not Alone Evidence of Intent to Harass Under FDCPA

In Tye v. LJ Ross Associates, No. 11-15195, 2013 WL 424765 (E.D. Mich. Feb. 4, 2013), the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan held that a high frequency of phone calls cannot alone prove a debt collector's intent to harass under 15 U.S.C. § 1692d, a provision of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act ("FDCPA"). In Tye, the plaintiff-debtor brought multiple claims against the defendant debt-collector under the FDCPA, including a claim under section 1692d, which prohibits a debt collector from "engag[ing] in any conduct the natural consequence of which is to harass, oppress, or abuse any person in connection with the collection of a debt." The debtor alleged that the debt collector called her up to four times per day during a three-month period, and that this frequency of calls was clear evidence of the debt collector's intent to harass her. The debt collector admitted that it called the debtor 37 times, but stated that it spoke to the debtor during only one of these calls. In her brief opposing summary judgment, the debtor argued that there was a genuine issue of material fact due to conflicting testimony regarding the frequency, pattern, and intent of the calls. Disagreeing with the debtor, the court granted summary judgment in favor of the debt collector, holding that a high frequency of calls cannot alone establish a debt collector's intent to harass under section 1692d. Relying on Saltzman v. I.C.System, Inc., No. 09-10096, 2009 WL 3190359 (E.D. Mich. Sept. 30, 2009), the court noted that "a disparity between the number of calls the [debt collector] placed and the number of actual successful conversations" suggested a "difficulty" reaching the debtor "rather than an intent to harass." Because the debtor provided only a "conclusory allegation of harassment" without explaining how the debt collector harassed her and without providing any evidence of harassment, there was no genuine fact dispute as to the debt collector's intent. While the Tye debt collector won on a motion for summary judgment, debt collectors in future cases may succeed in leveraging the holding of Tye to dispose of similar section 1692d claims on a motion to dismiss. For more information on consumer finance litigation topics, please contact one of the Burr & Forman team members for assistance. We are happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have.

Posted in: FDCPA
Jump to Page
Arrow icon Top

Contact Us

We use cookies to improve your website experience, provide additional security, and remember you when you return to the website. This website does not respond to "Do Not Track" signals. By clicking "Accept," you agree to our use of cookies. To learn more about how we use cookies, please see our Privacy Policy.

Necessary Cookies

Necessary cookies enable core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility. These cookies may only be disabled by changing your browser settings, but this may affect how the website functions.

Analytical Cookies

Analytical cookies help us improve our website by collecting and reporting information on its usage. We access and process information from these cookies at an aggregate level.