"We are gratified that the judge saw it fit to impose a significant, meaningful penalty for Portfolio Recovery Associates' intentional violations of the FDCPA."
Stamford, CT (PRWEB) March 29, 2013
On behalf of Jason Zimmerman and other consumers, Lemberg & Associates (http://www.stopcollector.com) has won a $350,000 class action award against debt collection agency Portfolio Recovery Associates for violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). This is the largest reported judgment in a Fair Debt Collection class action case. According to Sergei Lemberg, who was labeled the "most active consumer attorney" of 2012 by debt collection industry insider WebRecon LLC, "We are gratified that the judge saw it fit to impose a significant, meaningful penalty for PRA's intentional violations of the FDCPA."
According to the Memorandum Opinion & Order issued by the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, Portfolio Recovery Associates violated the FDCPA by sending 990 consumers debt collection correspondence that simulated legal process. The court's decision impacted the class that consisted of "All consumers to whom [Portfolio Recovery Associates] sent...a demand for payment letter on Portfolio Recovery Associates, LLC letterhead - signed by Catherin M. Hedgeman, Esq. - and enclosing a draft summons and complaint in a form materially identical or substantially similar to the 'Pre-Suit Package' sent to Jason P. Zimmerman."
In determining the amount of the award, the court had to consider several factors, which, according to the court's opinion, included "the frequency and persistence of noncompliance by the debt collector, the nature of such noncompliance, the resources of the debt collector, the number of persons adversely affected, and the extent to which the debt collector's noncompliance was intentional."
The court noted that Portfolio Recovery Associates' "use of the Pre-Suit Package falls squarely within the 'unscrupulous' behavior that the FDCPA seeks to prevent" argued in favor of a larger award, and that because the debt collector's net worth exceeds $50 million, "the sanction imposed must be sufficient to deter PRA from engaging in abusive practices in the future." The court concluded that the various factors indicated "that a large statutory award is appropriate. That award must be sufficient to deter a company of PRA's size from future abusive practices and must reflect the egregious nature of what the Court concludes was intentional misconduct."
The court determined that each class member who returned the appropriate claim form would receive $500, that the lead plaintiff, Mr. Zimmerman, would receive $1,500, and that any remaining monies would be awarded "to a non-profit organization working to curb abusive debt collection practices or to increase consumer awareness of such practices."
Lemberg concluded, "It's fitting that a portion of the award will go to consumer advocacy organizations. The court's decision should a clear message to debt collectors that they will be held accountable when they engage in shady practices."
This release references Zimmerman v. Portfolio Recovery Associates, LLC (U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, 09 Civ. 4602 (PGG)).
About Lemberg & Associates, LLC
The attorneys at Lemberg & Associates, LLC are represent consumers in Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, Telephone Consumer Protection Act, and lemon law cases, among others. Sergei Lemberg can brief you about the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, remedies available to consumers who are victims of debt collector harassment, and other relevant issues.