Alabama Case Filings — United Recovery Systems, LP Sued For FDCPA Violations

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Debt collectors must give the appropriate disclosures when leaving voicemails which means, among other things, that the collection agency must inform the consumer that the call is “from a debt collector” and that the call is “an attempt to collect a debt.”

Debt collectors do not like giving full disclosures because it can expose them to suit for illegally disclosing to a third party that the collector is collecting a debt. So . . . they don’t want that but they still want to leave a message.

What to do?

The collector’s argument is “We have to break one section of the law to avoid breaking another section” — that is as stupid as it sounds. But that’s what they do.

Here is a recent case we filed against United Recovery Systems, LP for allegedly failing to give proper disclosures (sometimes called the “Mini Miranda”):

COMPLAINT

COMES NOW the Plaintiff, by and through counsel, in the above styled cause, and for Plaintiff’s Complaint against the United Recovery states as follows:

1. This action arises out of United Recovery’s repeated violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1692 et seq. (“FDCPA”) and out of the invasions of Plaintiff’s personal and financial privacy by the United Recovery and its agents in their illegal efforts to collect a consumer debt from Plaintiff.

PARTIES

2. Plaintiff Steven McCartey (hereinafter “Plaintiff”) is a natural person who is a resident of Alabama.
3. United Recovery Systems, LP, (“United Recovery”) is a foreign debt collection firm that engages in the business of debt collection. Its principal place of business is in the State of Texas and it is incorporated in Texas.

FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS

4. 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).
5. United Recovery made a large number of harassing and repeated phone calls to Plaintiff’s cell phone.
6. United Recovery refused to give all disclosures as required when leaving voicemails in its efforts to collecting the debt.
7. United Recovery refused to send required notices to Plaintiff in its collection efforts.
8. Plaintiff never gave United Recovery permission to call Plaintiff’s cell phone.
9. The volume and type of calls are harassing as the intent and motive behind them is to harass Plaintiff into paying United Recovery.

SUMMARY

10. All of the above-described collection communications made to Plaintiff by United Recovery and collection agents of United Recovery was made in violation of the FDCPA.
11. The above-detailed conduct by this United Recovery 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.
12. This series of abusive collection calls by United Recovery and its agents caused Plaintiff stress and anguish as a result of these abusive calls.
13. United Recovery’s 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.
14. Plaintiff has suffered actual damages as a result of these illegal collection communications by this United Recovery 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.

NEGLIGENT AND WANTON HIRING AND SUPERVISION
15. United Recovery 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.

16. Plaintiff incorporates by reference all of the above paragraphs of this Complaint as though fully stated herein.
17. The acts and omissions of United Recovery and its agents constitute numerous and multiple violations of the FDCPA with respect to the Plaintiff, including the failure to give the required disclosures.
18. As a result of United Recovery’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 United Recovery.

COUNT II.
INVASION OF PRIVACY BY INTRUSION UPON SECLUSION

19. Plaintiff incorporates by reference all of the paragraphs of this Complaint as though fully stated herein.
20. Alabama law recognizes Plaintiff’s right to be free from invasions of privacy and United Recovery violated Alabama state law as described in this Complaint.
21. 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).

22. 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).

23. United Recovery and/or its 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.
24. United Recovery and its 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.
25. Plaintiff had a reasonable expectation of privacy in Plaintiff’s solitude, seclusion, private concerns or affairs, and private financial information.
26. The conduct of this United Recovery and its agents, in engaging in the above-described illegal collection conduct against Plaintiff, resulted in multiple intrusions and invasions of privacy by this United Recovery which occurred in a way that would be highly offensive to a reasonable person in that position.
27. 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 United Recovery.
28. All acts of United Recovery and its agents and/or employees were committed with malice, intent, wantonness, and/or recklessness and as such United Recovery is subject to punitive damages.

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

29. Plaintiff incorporates by reference all of the paragraphs of this Complaint as though fully stated herein.
30. United Recovery 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 IV NEGLIGENT, WANTON, AND INTENTIONAL CONDUCT

31. All paragraphs of this Complaint are expressly adopted and incorporated herein as if fully set forth herein.
32. United Recovery acted with negligence, malice, wantonness, recklessness, and/or intentional conduct in its dealings with and about Plaintiff as set forth in this Complaint.
33. United Recovery violated all of the duties United Recovery had and such violations were made intentionally, willfully, recklessly, maliciously, wantonly, and negligently.
34. It was foreseeable, and United Recovery did in fact foresee it, the actions of the United Recovery would lead and did lead to the exact type of harm suffered by Plaintiff.
35. United Recovery acted with negligence, malice, wantonness, recklessness, and/or intentional conduct in its dealings with and about Plaintiff as set forth in this Complaint.
36. United Recovery invaded the privacy of Plaintiff as set forth in Alabama law.
37. Such negligence, malice, wantonness, recklessness, willfulness, and/or intentional conduct proximately caused the damages set forth in this complaint.
38. As a result of this conduct, action, and inaction of United Recovery, Plaintiff has suffered damage as set forth in this Complaint.

PRAYER FOR RELIEF
WHEREFORE, Plaintiff prays that judgment be entered against United Recovery for $10,000:

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

COUNT II.
INVASION OF PRIVACY BY INTRUSION UPON SECLUSION

• for an award of actual damages from United Recovery 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 III.
NEGLIGENT, WANTON, AND/OR INTENTIONAL HIRING AND
SUPERVISION OF INCOMPETENT DEBT COLLECTORS

• for an award of actual damages from United Recovery for the all damages including emotional distress suffered as a result of the intentional, reckless, and/or negligent FDCPA 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 IV.

NEGLIGENT, WANTON, AND INTENTIONAL CONDUCT
• for an award of actual damages from United Recovery 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

Serve United Recovery via certified mail at the following addresses:

United Recovery Systems, LP c/o Douglas B. Schultz 5800 North Course Drive Houston, Texas 77072

Contact Information