spray25

Being sued by Portfolio Recoveries and Johnson Mark

Recommended Posts

Hello all. My fiancé was recently served. The suit was filed by Johnson Mark LLC representing Portfolio Recoveries. We are in the state of Idaho and my fiancé does not remember the alleged debt. OC is claimed to have been US Bank. We could use some help in making sure we handle this correctly. Here is somewhat of a timeline of events and information.

I received the complaint and summons from a process server at our home in mid June. The complaint itself was filed back in January. Interestingly, the process server very much wanted to speak to my fiancé and twice told me that it was no big deal and that she didn’t even need to respond to the complaint, that instead my fiancé should just call the toll free number and talk to Johnson Mark about it. Man do I wish I had some way to prove this is what he did!

The complaint strikes me as typical boiler plate stuff. It alleges my fiancé entered into a contract with US Bank ending in xxxx1234 (no date given), defaulted, owes $4,000 to plaintiff plus interest, and that written demand was made upon defendant more than 10 days before this action (not true).

 

The very same day as the service when I checked the mail there was a letter from Johnson Mark dated the first of May. Remember this was mid-June and I don’t buy for a second that it took their letter 6 weeks to arrive. There was no post mark only a bar code. The letter was a typical collection letter with very generic information about the alleged debt. It gave the standard 30 day notice, although it said that their client did not have to wait the 30 days to pursue their contractual rights to collect the alleged debt. The letter went on to say that “At this time, no attorney with this firm has personally reviewed the particular circumstances of your account, and no decision has been made to file a lawsuit.” Obviously, this is completely false as they filed a suit 5 months earlier and had it served the very day this letter showed up. The letter went on to say this is an attempt to collect a debt and that the communication is from a debt collector. I checked and Johnson Mark is not licensed as a debt collector in Idaho. Idaho does, however, offer a partial exemption to attorneys.

 

We pulled credit reports and PR does show on all three. We sent validation letters to both Johnson and PR and started on an answer. As soon as the green cards were returned we filed disputes with the three bureaus, PR had not changed the status of their reporting. (currently waiting for disputes to be finished)

 

Johnson responded very quickly to the validation request. They sent a letter stating that they were providing verification, they had looked at information provided by their clients, and that they had determined that my fiancé owes the money. They again identified themselves as a debt collector. They attached documents to the letter. 1) A print out that looks like they simply typed containing my fiancé’s name, current address, social, date of birth, the amount sought (original amount plus $150 in costs), creditor PR, the OC and address and an account number. 2) A document that looks like it may have been part of a data dump from an OC. In addition to the information on the first document it contained open date, delinquency date (2011), a notation that it was a visa and etc. 3) Two statements that are allegedly from US Bank.

 

The statements were somewhat interesting. The first is from July of 2011 and show a $100 payment and a balance owed of approximately $4,000 which is the exact amount of the suit. The next statement is dated February of 2012. That statement shows a credit of $1,000 that says “interest reversal”, then it says “charge off $3,000”, and “total new balance $3,000”. So if the “total new balance” was $3,000 why is PR suing for $4,000?

I helped my fiancé write and file an answer. County of residence was admitted, the claim of them making demand 10 days in advance of the suit was denied, and all other items were denied for lack of knowledge. The answer also contained sort of a kitchen sink approach of affirmative defenses.

 

Yesterday PR sent a response to the request for validation. Their letter states that the account was “sold, assigned, and transferred by the seller to PRA.” It goes on to say that on that date of the sale the seller said it was $4,000 and there were no un-credited payments, counterclaims, or offsets against the account. They specifically show the aprox $4,000 amount and say fees are $0 yet they filed a lawsuit 6 months ago showing an amount that is $4,000 plus fees. They say if we want a payment history to contact them (already asked for this in validation letter). They then say that if we wish to dispute this that we need to send them documents and that if they have not heard from us by July 21 they will close the investigation. In big bold letters they state that this is NOT an attempt to collect a debt.

 

At this point I need some input and help. I need to respond to PR, but am not 100% sure how to respond. I need help figuring out if there are any FDCPA violations (there seem to be false statements in the communications and have they continued to collect without validation?) Should I bother to file a complaint against Johnson Mark for not being licensed or will the attorneys at law factor make that a non-starter? Finally I need help on discovery requests. I’m not sure when I will need them, but I want to be prepared.

 

I am sorry for such a long post and I thank you in advance for any help you can provide.
 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@spray25

 

They validated the debt, so there's no violation for continued collection.  In regard to PRA's validation letter in which they stated that the letter was NOT an attempt to collect a debt, if they didn't ask for payment in that letter, then what they meant was that they were merely validating the debt. 

 

Your fiance' needs to check needs to check his bank records for July and August, 2011 to see if he made that $100 payment.  If his records don't show that payment, it's in his favor.  If his records do show the payment, then you know the debt is his.

 

If Johnson Mark is the law firm representing PRA, then you can't get them for being unlicensed.   However, they are debt collectors. 

 

I'd contact a consumer attorney to see if one might take the case on a contingency basis because of possible FDCPA violations.  There might be a violation by Johnson Mark based upon the lawsuit being filed in January, and the contents of the letter written in May in regard to their claim that they had not yet decided to file suit.   PRA might be held liable for that violation, as well.  The 2012 credit card statement indicates that PRA might be claiming an incorrect amount.  If JM is the attorney representing PRA in the lawsuit,  and since JM had a copy of that credit card statement, the law firm might also be in violation for claiming the wrong amount.

 

With 2 debt collectors both violating the FDCPA, you could possibly request separate FDCPA awards from each debt collector ($2000 total).   An attorney would be able to figure that out.

 

Try contacting NACA for names of consumer attorneys in your area.

 

http://www.naca.net

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you BV80. I looked on naca.net and unfortunately there is only one attorney listed in my state and he is a long ways away.

 

Is PRA's continued reporting to the credit bureaus (and not showing it as disputed) continued collection activity as well? Possibly generating additional violations?

 

I think we need to send PRA another letter confirming that we do still dispute the validity of the debt so that they don't just summarily close their "investigation".

 

We also received discovery, request for admissions, and interrogatories in yesterdays mail along with some attached documents including a bill of sale and affidavit. The documents are quite interesting and I will need to do some heavy duty research on how to handle them. The both documents refer to additional documents that were of course not included.

 

I'm not really sure how to word my discovery requests. My primary goal being to have them prove standing and to provide more information on the signer of the affidavit. I have a lot of suspicions concerning the applicability of this affidavit to this case.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@spray25

 

Is PRA's continued reporting to the credit bureaus (and not showing it as disputed) continued collection activity as well? Possibly generating additional violations?

 

 

When you say "continued reporting", are they updating their entry each month?  If not, then they're not actually reporting. 

 

 

If they are updating each month, the only way PRA's reporting might be considered continued collection activity would be if your validation request to them had been sent within 30 days after receiving their first dunning letter that would have contained the 30-day validation notice, but PRA didn't respond with validation.    Since I don't know where you're from, I don't know if it's a violation that they haven't reported the debt as disputed.  Courts differ on that issue.

 

I think we need to send PRA another letter confirming that we do still dispute the validity of the debt so that they don't just summarily close their "investigation".

 

 

You've been sued.  If you had not been sued, then you'd pursue an investigation into the validity of the debt through the mail.  However, now the "investigation" is going to take place in court via the discovery process.

 

If you want to attach the docs you've received so that members can view them and offer suggestions, you're welcome to do so.    Just redact any personal identifying information.

 

I'd give that attorney a call.  He doesn't have to be nearby just for you to talk to him.   In fact, he might be able to recommend an attorney closer to you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.