Alabama Case Filings — TCPA/FDCPA Allegations Against NCO And Chase

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We have talked about the rampant violations of the federal law known as the TCPA — Telephone Consumer Protection Act — which prohibits automated calls to cell or mobile phones without permission.

In a case we filed against Chase (credit card company) and the large debt collector NCO, allegations were made about alleged violations of the FDCPA (Fair Debt Collection Practices Act) and the TCPA.

These allegations are listed below:

COMPLAINT

COMES NOW the Plaintiff, by and through counsel, in the above styled cause, and for Plaintiff’s Complaint against the Defendants states as follows:
1. This action arises out of Defendants’ repeated violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1692 et seq. (“FDCPA”), the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, 47 U.S.C. § 227 (“TCPA “) and out of the invasions of Plaintiff’s personal and financial privacy by the Defendant and its agents in their illegal efforts to collect a consumer debt from Plaintiff.

PARTIES
2. Plaintiff is a natural person who is a resident of Alabama, and is a “consumer” as that term is defined by 15 U.S.C. § 1692a(3).
3. Defendant Chase Bankcard, LLC, (“Defendant” or “Chase”) is a foreign debt collection firm that engages in the business of debt collection. It conducts business in Alabama. Its principal place of business is in the State of Delaware and it is incorporated in Delaware.
4. Defendant NCO Financial Systems, Inc., (“Defendant” or “NCO”) is a foreign debt collection firm that engages in the business of debt collection. It conducts business in Alabama. Its principal place of business is the State of Pennsylvania and it is incorporated in Pennsylvania.

FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS

5. Plaintiff allegedly incurred a financial obligation that was primarily for personal, family or household purposes and is therefore a “debt” as that term is defined by 15 U.S.C. § 1692a(5).
6. Defendant Chase assigned the debt to Defendant NCO.
7. Defendant NCO began harassing collection activities against Plaintiff.
8. Defendant NCO made a large number of harassing and repeated phone calls to Plaintiff’s cell phone.
9. Defendant NCO refused on one or more occasions to give the mini-miranda and other disclosures as required when leaving voicemails in its efforts to collecting the debt.
10. Defendant NCO also illegally used an autodialer, predictive dialer, and/or pre-recorded calls to Plaintiff’s cell phone without permission to do so in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).
11. Plaintiff never gave either Defendant permission to call Plaintiff’s cell phone with an autodialer, predictive dialer, or to use pre-recorded calls.
12. Defendant Chase is liable for these calls under the TCPA as they were made by its debt collector, Defendant NCO, as Defendant NCO told Plaintiff they were collecting this account on behalf of Defendant Chase.
13. The harassing and repeated phone calls have been made within the applicable statute of limitations period.

SUMMARY

14. All of the above-described collection communications made to Plaintiff by Defendants and collection agents of Defendants were made in violation of the FDCPA and TCPA.
15. The above-detailed conduct by these Defendants of harassing Plaintiff in an effort to collect this debt was also an invasion of Plaintiff’s privacy by an intrusion upon seclusion and resulted in actual damages to the Plaintiff.
16. This series of abusive collection calls by Defendants and their agents caused Plaintiff stress and anguish as a result of these abusive calls.
17. Defendants’ repeated attempts to collect this debt from Plaintiff and refusal to stop violating the law was an invasion of Plaintiff’s privacy and Plaintiff’s right to be left alone.
18. Plaintiff has suffered actual damages as a result of these illegal collection communications by these Defendants in the form of anger, anxiety, emotional distress, fear, frustration, upset, humiliation, embarrassment, amongst other negative emotions, as well as suffering from unjustified and abusive invasions of personal privacy.
19. All actions by Defendant NCO were in the line and scope of its agency relationship with Defendant Chase and Defendant Chase is responsible for all of the wrongful acts of the Defendant NCO.

NEGLIGENT AND WANTON HIRING AND SUPERVISION

20. Defendants negligently and/or wantonly hired, retained, or supervised incompetent debt collectors and are thereby responsible to the Plaintiff for the wrongs committed against Plaintiff and the damages suffered by Plaintiff.

CAUSES OF ACTION
COUNT I.
VIOLATIONS OF THE FAIR DEBT COLLECTION PRACTICES ACT 15 U.S.C. § 1692 et seq.

21. Plaintiff incorporates by reference all of the above paragraphs of this Complaint as though fully stated herein.
22. The acts and omissions of Defendant NCO and its agents constitute numerous and multiple violations of the FDCPA with respect to the Plaintiff, including the failure to give the required mini-miranda warning and other disclosures.
23. As a result of Defendant’s violations of the FDCPA, Plaintiff is entitled to actual damages pursuant to 15 U.S.C. § 1692k(a)(1); statutory damages in an amount up to $1,000.00 pursuant to 15 U.S.C. § 1692k(a)(2)(A); (2) actual and compensatory damages; and, (3) reasonable attorney’s fees and costs pursuant to 15 U.S.C. § 1692k(a)(3), from Defendant.

COUNT II.
VIOLATIONS OF THE TELEPHONE CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT (TCPA)
(47 U.S.C. § 227)

24. Plaintiff incorporates by reference all of the paragraphs of this Complaint as though fully stated herein.
25. Defendants have repeatedly violated the TCPA by the calls made to Plaintiff, specifically the numerous calls by illegal automatic dialers, predictive dialers, and/or pre-recorded messages that have been unleashed against Plaintiff by Defendants.
26. There is no exception or justification for the numerous violations of the TCPA by Defendants as Plaintiff has not consented to the Defendants to use these against Plaintiff’s cell phone.
27. Each call is a separate violation and entitles Plaintiff to statutory damages against Defendants in the amount of at least $500.00 per call and Plaintiff requests that since the violations were made intentionally or recklessly that the violations be assessed a statutory damage of $1,500.00 per call. 47 U.S.C. § 227(b)(3).
28. All actions taken by Defendants were taken with malice, were done willfully, recklessly and/or were done with either the desire to harm Plaintiff and/or with the knowledge that its actions would very likely harm Plaintiff and/or that its actions were taken in violation of the TCPA and/or that knew or should have known that its actions were in reckless disregard of the TCPA.
29. All of the violations of the TCPA proximately caused the injuries and damages set forth in this Complaint.

COUNT III.
INVASION OF PRIVACY BY INTRUSION UPON SECLUSION

30. Plaintiff incorporates by reference all of the paragraphs of this Complaint as though fully stated herein.
31. Alabama law recognizes Plaintiff’s right to be free from invasions of privacy and Defendants violated Alabama state law as described in this Complaint.
32. Congress explicitly recognized a consumer’s inherent right to privacy in collection matters in passing the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, when it stated as part of its findings:
Abusive debt collection practices contribute to the number of personal bankruptcies, to marital instability, to the loss of jobs, and to invasions of individual privacy.

15 U.S.C. § 1692(a) (emphasis added).
33. Congress further recognized a consumer’s right to privacy in financial data in passing the Gramm Leech Bliley Act, which regulates the privacy of consumer financial data for a broad range of “financial institutions” including debt collectors (albeit without a private right of action), when it stated as part of its purposes:
It is the policy of the Congress that each financial institution has an affirmative and continuing obligation to respect the privacy of its customers and to protect the security and confidentiality of those customers’ nonpublic personal information.

15 U.S.C. § 6801(a) (emphasis added).
34. Defendants and/or their agents intentionally, recklessly, and/or negligently interfered, physically or otherwise, with the solitude, seclusion and or private concerns or affairs of the Plaintiff, namely, by repeatedly and unlawfully attempting to collect a debt and thereby invaded Plaintiff’s privacy.
35. Defendants and their agents intentionally, recklessly, and/or negligently caused emotional harm to Plaintiff by engaging in highly offensive conduct in the course of collecting this debt, thereby invading and intruding upon Plaintiff’s right to privacy.
36. Plaintiff had a reasonable expectation of privacy in Plaintiff’s solitude, seclusion, private concerns or affairs, and private financial information.
37. The conduct of these Defendants and their agents, in engaging in the above-described illegal collection conduct against Plaintiff, resulted in multiple intrusions and invasions of privacy by these Defendants which occurred in a way that would be highly offensive to a reasonable person in that position.
38. As a result of such intrusions and invasions of privacy, Plaintiff is entitled to actual damages in an amount to be determined at trial from Defendants.
39. All acts of Defendants and their agents and/or employees were committed with malice, intent, wantonness, and/or recklessness and as such Defendants are subject to punitive damages.

COUNT IV.
NEGLIGENT, WANTON, AND/OR INTENTIONAL HIRING AND
SUPERVISION OF INCOMPETENT DEBT COLLECTORS

40. Plaintiff incorporates by reference all of the paragraphs of this Complaint as though fully stated herein.
41. Defendants negligently, wantonly, and/or intentionally hired, retained, or supervised incompetent debt collectors, who were allowed or encouraged to violate the law as was done to Plaintiff, and are thereby responsible to the Plaintiff for the wrongs committed against Plaintiff and the damages suffered by Plaintiff.

COUNT V NEGLIGENT, WANTON, AND INTENTIONAL CONDUCT
42. All paragraphs of this Complaint are expressly adopted and incorporated herein as if fully set forth herein.
43. Defendants acted with negligence, malice, wantonness, recklessness, and/or intentional conduct in its dealings with and about Plaintiff as set forth in this Complaint.
44. Defendants violated all of the duties Defendants had and such violations were made intentionally, willfully, recklessly, maliciously, wantonly, and negligently.
45. It was foreseeable, and Defendants did in fact foresee it, the actions of the Defendants would lead and did lead to the exact type of harm suffered by Plaintiff.
46. Defendants acted with negligence, malice, wantonness, recklessness, and/or intentional conduct in its dealings with and about Plaintiff as set forth in this Complaint.
47. Defendants invaded the privacy of Plaintiff as set forth in Alabama law.
48. Such negligence, malice, wantonness, recklessness, willfulness, and/or intentional conduct proximately caused the damages set forth in this complaint.
49. As a result of this conduct, action, and inaction of Defendants, Plaintiff has suffered damage as set forth in this Complaint.

PRAYER FOR RELIEF

WHEREFORE, Plaintiff prays that judgment be entered against Defendants:

COUNT I.
VIOLATIONS OF THE FAIR DEBT COLLECTION PRACTICES ACT 15 U.S.C. § 1692 et seq.

• for an award of actual damages pursuant to 15 U.S.C. § 1692k(a)(1) against Defendant NCO;
• for an award of statutory damages of $1,000.00 pursuant to 15 U.S.C. §1692k(a)(2)(A) against Defendant NCO;
• for an award of costs of litigation and reasonable attorney’s fees pursuant to 15 U.S.C. § 1692k(a)(3) against Defendant NCO.
• for such other and further relief as may be just and proper.

COUNT II.
TCPA
• for an award of actual damages from Defendants for the all damages including emotional distress suffered as a result of the intentional, reckless, and/or negligent TCPA violations in an amount to be determined at trial for Plaintiff;
• statutory damages of $500.00 or $1,500.00 per call; and • for such other and further relief as may be just and proper.

COUNT III.
INVASION OF PRIVACY BY INTRUSION UPON SECLUSION

• for an award of actual damages from Defendants for the all damages including emotional distress suffered as a result of the intentional, reckless, and/or negligent FDCPA violations and intentional, reckless, and/or negligent state law violations in an amount to be determined at trial for Plaintiff;
• punitive damage; and • for such other and further relief as may be just and proper.

COUNT IV.
NEGLIGENT, WANTON, AND/OR INTENTIONAL HIRING AND
SUPERVISION OF INCOMPETENT DEBT COLLECTORS
• for an award of actual damages from Defendants for the all damages including emotional distress suffered as a result of the intentional, reckless, and/or negligent FDCPA/TCPA violations, intentional, reckless, and/or negligent hiring and supervision of incompetent debt collectors intentional, reckless, and/or negligent violations of state law in an amount to be determined at trial for Plaintiff;
• punitive damage; and • for such other and further relief as may be just and proper.

COUNT V.
NEGLIGENT, WANTON, AND INTENTIONAL CONDUCT
• for an award of actual damages from Defendants for the all damages including emotional distress suffered as a result of the intentional, reckless, and/or negligent violations of state law in an amount to be determined at trial for Plaintiff;
• punitive damages; and • for such other and further relief as may be just and proper.

Respectfully Submitted,
/s/ John G. Watts
John G. Watts (WAT056)
Attorney for Plaintiff
OF COUNSEL:
Watts Law Group, PC The Kress Building 301 19th Street North Birmingham, Alabama 35203 (205) 879-2447 (888) 522-7167 facsimile john@wattslawgroup.com
/s/ M. Stan Herring
M. Stan Herring (HER037)
Attorney for Plaintiff
OF COUNSEL:
M. Stan Herring, P.C.
The Kress Building 301 19th Street North Birmingham, Alabama 35203 (205) 714-4443 (888) 522-7167 facsimile msh@mstanherringlaw.com
PLAINTIFF DEMANDS A TRIAL BY JURY IN THIS CAUSE.

/s/ John G. Watts
Attorney for Plaintiff
Serve defendants via certified mail at the following addresses:

Chase Bankcard, LLC c/o The Corporation Trust Company Corporation Trust Center 1209 Orange Street Wilmington, DE 19801
NCO Financial Systems, Inc.
The Corporation Company 2000 Interstate Park Dr. Ste 204 Montgomery, AL 36109

Contact Information