A victim of abusive debt collection practices was recently awarded $311,000 by a federal jury in Montana. The debt collector, the North Dakota law firm of Johnson, Rodenburg & Lauinger, sued the victim, who had a disabling brain injury, beyond the statute of limitations. The jury awarded the victim $1,000 in statutory damages, $250,000 in actual damages, and $60,000 in punitive damages. The court will next determine the appropriate amount of attorneys’ fees. This is one of the largest jury awards ever under the FDCPA. The attorney for the victim, John Heenan, did a remarkable job handling the case.
Under the FDCPA, a consumer is entitled to $1,000 in statutory damages for violations of the FDCPA, plus actual damages and attorneys fees. If the conduct is especially egregious, as in the Montanta case, the consumer may be entitled to punitive damages as well. If you live in Minnesota and have been a victim of abusive debt collection tactics and want to fight back, please contact me.