Debtor-Creditor Law

Our attorneys have counseled and represented those defined by statute and case law as “collection agencies” and “debt collectors,” including both collection agencies and attorneys that bring claims on behalf of creditor clients.

We have successfully defended collection law-related claims and lawsuits in both state and federal courts arising out of alleged violations of the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, federal Fair Credit Reporting Act, the Washington Collection Agency Act, and Washington’s Consumer Protection Act.

Our attorneys have also successfully represented deed of trust trustees in cases arising out of foreclosure related activities under Washington’s Deed of Trust Act and Consumer Protection Act.

Anglin v. Merchants Credit Corporation, et al., No. C18-0507-JCC, 2018 WL 4584013 (W.D. Wash. 2018) – Defended collection agency against claims brought by debtor. Plaintiffs had been the subject of a state-court collection action, in which they had brought counterclaims against the client. One counterclaim was voluntarily dismissed, while the others were litigated. The client prevailed in the collection action on the claims and counterclaims. Plaintiffs then brought multiple claims in federal court, which claims had also been their counterclaims in the collection action. Other than a claim under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA), which had been voluntarily dismissed and not litigated in the state court action, the federal court barred all causes of action on grounds of res judicata. The court then held the ECOA did not apply to collections for a debt in default, and dismissed the case with prejudice on the pleadings.

Echlin v. Asset Systems, Inc., C-12-5954-BHS, 2013 WL 308984 (W.D. Wash. 2013) – Obtained dismissal of collection agency based on letter its attorney allegedly sent to a represented debtor and where the contents of the letter were allegedly unfair, oppressive, and abusive. The court ruled that state claims should be dismissed because, under state law, a client is not vicariously liable for the acts of its attorney, and federal claims were dismissed because Plaintiff did not present evidence that he was represented at the time the letter was sent, and that the letter did not violate the law as alleged by Plaintiff.

Gilchrist v. First National Bank of Omaha, et. al., 2018 WL 317267 (W.D. Wash. 2018) – Obtained dismissal with prejudice on a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss. The action arose from collection on a credit card debt. The district court first ruled that plaintiff’s claims against a bank under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act were barred by res judicata where they were a compulsory counterclaim in the banks underlying collection action against him The district court also dismissed plaintiff’s claims against the bank’s attorney in the collection action, which were brought under the Fair Credit Reporting Act and Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, and based on the claim that the lawyers improperly accessed his credit report without his authorization. The district court held that a debt collector who obtains a credit report for purposes of collecting a debt has not violated the FCRA. The district court dismissed the claims with prejudice because amendment would have been futile.

We are ready to zealously handle your litigation needs