Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against Encore Capital Group, Midland Funding LLC, Midland Credit Management Inc. and Fulton, Friedman and Gullace

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Consumer law firm Weisberg & Meyers, LLC files class action lawsuit against consumer receivable portfolio buyers Encore Capital Group and affiliated debt collection agencies Midland Funding LLC, Midland Credit Management (MCM) and Fulton, Friedman & Gullace for alleged violations of federal and state fair debt collection laws. Case # 6:11-cv-00071-WSS was filed in the US District Court for the Western District of Texas.

A class action lawsuit (Case #6:11-cv-00071-WSS) has recently been filed in the US District Court for the Western District of Texas, on behalf of numerous consumers who received collection phone calls from Fulton, Friedman and Gullace, Cynthia Fulton, Encore Capital Group, Midland Funding LLC and Midland Credit Management Inc by Attorneys for Consumers Weisberg and Meyers, LLC. According to the complaint filed, lead plaintiff Joseph Olinick received multiple phone calls from debt collectors representing the aforementioned debt collection firms regarding payment for a debt and during the course of these calls, alleged violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, the Texas Debt Collection Practices Act and the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act occurred.

The class action complaint alleges that representatives from Fulton, Friedman placed multiple telephone calls to Mr. Olinick, and in each such instance, left voicemail messages in which they failed to identify the individual, the corporate and/or business name and that the call was from a debt collector. Commonly referred to as the “Mini-Miranda warning”, section 1692e(11) of the FDCPA states that debt collectors must identify themselves as a debt collector, provide the name of the company or firm they are collecting for, and must say that information obtained during the call will be used for the purpose of collecting the debt. The claims of Mr. Olinick and of the class originate from the same conduct, practice, and procedure, on the part of Defendants, providing just cause for bringing this action for violations of the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act, the Texas Debt Collection Practices Act, and the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act under which relief and judgment are sought.

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act was enacted to ensure debtor’s rights stand protected should a debt collector resort to illegal or unconscionable collection activities. The debt collection consortium of Encore Capital Group and its subsidiaries and vendors including but not limited to Midland Credit Management and Fulton, Friedman and Gullace, allegedly employed the same collection practices used to collect from Mr. Olinick on a large group of Texas consumers, the total number at this time is without measure.

This class action alleges that Encore, Fulton, Friedman & Gullace, Midland Funding, and Midland Credit Management acted together to collect a debt from lead Plaintiff Olinick, and generally act together to collect consumer debts incurred primarily for personal, family or household purposes.

According to a recent 10K Encore report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, FDCPA lawsuits are filed against Encore in the “ordinary course of business” but company management “does not believe [such] litigation or claims will have a material adverse effect on the company’s consolidated financial position or results of operations.” So from this report, it seems Encore’s position on FDCPA compliance is ambivalent, at best. Encore recognizes however that class action lawsuits such as that brought by Plaintiff Olinick “can be material to the Company.” Thus, the filing and certification of this particular class action may bring about a resolution that would be of great benefit to victimized consumers that choose to become part of the class and may influence Encore and its subsidiaries in future collection practices.

Background Information
Encore Capital Group, a publicly traded company, purchases deeply discounted charged-off consumer receivable portfolios from national financial institutions, major retail credit corporations, telecom companies and resellers of such portfolios, and manage their collection through its subsidiary entities.
Encore Capital Group, Inc. was founded in 1998 and is headquartered in San Diego, California.

About Weisberg & Meyers, LLC
Weisberg & Meyers LLC, a nationally recognized consumer law firm, has attorneys licensed to practice in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Washington, and works with attorneys throughout the country to protect the rights of aggrieved consumers. The firm handles Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) violations, Debt Settlement, Class Actions Lawsuits, Breach of Warranty, Lemon Law and Consumer Fraud Claims.


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Marshall Meyers
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