E.D. Pa.: Proper Forum for Collection Lawsuit is Where Plaintiff Resides or Signs Contract Despite Contract’s Language

In a recent case, the Eastern District of Pennsylvania looked into the issue where a collection lawsuit against a consumer should be filed. In Dixon v. J. Scott Watson, P.C., No. 17-cv-5236 (E.D. Pa. Aug. 28, 2018), the court denied reconsideration of its decision that filing a collection lawsuit in Pennsylvania when it is neither the location of plaintiff’s residence nor where plaintiff was located when he signed the agreement violates the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).

Factual and Procedural Background

Drexel University accepted plaintiff as a student, sending the offer of admission to plaintiff’s residence in Virginia. To complete the admissions process, Plaintiff logged onto the university’s online system and electronically agreed to the school’s Tuition Repayment Agreement. The agreement states, "I understand that once I am registered for course(s) and/or participating in the Cooperative Education Program at Drexel University, I become solely responsible for payment of the resulting tuition, fees, and any other balances." The online system marked plaintiff’s location at the time of signature as Virginia. Plaintiff's future log ons into the online system were from Pennsylvania.

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