Daugherty v. Convergent Outsourcing, Inc., No. 15-20392 (5th Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
Plaintiff filed suit against defendant debt collectors, alleging violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), 15 U.S.C. 1692-1692p. The district court dismissed the complaint. At issue is whether a collection letter for a time-barred debt containing a discounted “settlement” offer—but silent as to the time bar and without any mention of litigation—could mislead an unsophisticated consumer to believe that the debt is enforceable in court, and therefore violate the FDCPA. The court concluded that while it is not automatically unlawful for a debt collector to seek payment of a time-barred debt, a collection letter violates the FDCPA when its statements could mislead an unsophisticated consumer to believe that her time-barred debt is legally enforceable, regardless of whether litigation is threatened. In this case, accepting as true the well-pleaded facts alleged by plaintiff, and viewing these facts in the light most favorable to her, the court concluded that her claim is facially plausible. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded for further proceedings.