Court Awards Attorney Fees to Debt Collector, Finds Plaintiff Filed FDCPA Case in Bad Faith

Yesterday, the Eastern District of Washington did something rare: it awarded attorney fees and costs to a debt collector for defending a Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) case that the consumer brought in bad faith.

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In Vougas v. Suttell and Hammer, PS, No. 2:18-cv-331 (E.D. Wash. Sept. 3, 2019), the creditor obtained a judgment against the consumer for the amount owed on a credit card. The creditor hired Suttell and Hammer, PS (Suttell), a debt collection law firm, to collect on the judgment. Suttell sent a collection letter to the consumer to collect $14,968.09, which represents the unpaid balance on the account. The consumer filed an FDCPA claim alleging that the letter misrepresented the amount of the debt because the letter was silent as to interest or fees. The lawsuit also contained a state law claim for a similar allegation.

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