I agree with you that a plaintiff such as the one in the ruling does damage. I think it hurts consumers who have filed legitimate claims and must wait their turn while courts review and make rulings on stupid and baseless lawsuits.
In regard to court precedent, I don't think it hurts most consumers because I'm not sure that too many UNsophisticated consumers or even "professional litigants" would attempt what he claimed.
After the creditor filed the debt collection lawsuit, he claimed that the creditor's affidavit filed with the court regarding the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) was a prohibited communication to HIM because he told the law firm that he refused to pay the debt (1692c of the FDCPA). All an affidavit under the SCRA would state is that you are or are not an active member of the military. How is that a communication regarding a debt?
The idiot actually believed he could convince the court that an affidavit filed with the court attesting to the fact that he's not active member of the military is a communication with him regarding a debt and that it should have been prohibited when he told the law firm that he refused to be pay.
He didn't really believe the law firm violated the FDCPA but was merely trying to offset or avoid the state court debt collection lawsuit against him. To compound his stupidity, he sent harassing and inappropriate emails to the law firm.
James v. Machol is an example of "stupid on steroids".
To bolded question, no. Not until the MTC Arb is granted. But there is an appropriate response to their discovery in the meantime. OBJECT to each one of them, saying something like: Objection. Arbitration has been elected, and a jurisdictional motion is before the court. Scope of discovery is to be determined by the arbitration forum.
You don't want to answer their discovery as you would normally in a court proceeding, if you want to use arbitration. Going too far in litigation, which can include engaging in discovery, can waive your arbitration rights. (It depends on state case law.)
@BV80 A plaintiff like this does so much damage.
"The Court acknowledges one of the main purposes of the FDCPA is "to eliminate abusive debt collection practices." See 15 U.S.C. § 1692(e). However, courts have also become more cognizant of the potential misuse of the FDCPA by consumers, especially in light of the bargaining power it can create with the consumer's potential liability."
"Ironically, it appears that it is often the extremely sophisticated consumer who takes advantage of the civil liability scheme defined by this statute, not the individual who has been threatened or misled. The cottage industry that has emerged does not bring suits to remedy the "widespread and serious national problem" of abuse that the Senate observed in adopting the legislation, 1977 U.S.C.C.A.N. 1695, 1696, nor to ferret out collection abuse in the form of "obscene or profane language, threats of violence, telephone calls at unreasonable hours, misrepresentation of a consumer's legal rights, disclosing a consumer's personal affairs to friends, neighbors, or an employer, obtaining information about a consumer through false pretense, impersonating public officials and attorneys, and simulating legal process." Id. Rather, the inescapable inference is that the judicially developed standards have enabled a class of professional plaintiffs. . . ."