Gatewood v. CP Medical, LLC, No. 15-6008 (8th Cir. 2015)Annotate this Case
Debtors filed a Chapter 13 bankruptcy petition. CP Medical’s collection agent timely filed a proof of claim. The Chapter 13 plan, proposing monthly payments of $124.00 over 36 months and pro rata distribution to unsecured creditors, was confirmed. Debtors fell behind on payments and converted to a Chapter 7. After confirmation, but during the Chapter 13 case, Debtors filed an adversary proceeding against CP, seeking damages For violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. 1692. The complaint indicated that CP's proof of claim was for medical services provided in February 2011, that the bankruptcy and proof of claim filings were beyond Arkansas’ two-year statute of limitations for medical debt collection, and that by filing a claim on a debt that is time-barred, CP engaged in a “false, deceptive, misleading, unfair and unconscionable” debt collection practice. The bankruptcy court granted CP summary judgment, holding that no FDCPA violation occurs when a debt collector attempts to collect a potentially time-barred debt that is otherwise valid unless there is actual litigation or the threat of litigation. The Eighth Circuit Bankruptcy Appellate panel affirmed. CP's proof of claim was a simple attempt to share in any distribution made to listed creditors in bankruptcy, not actual or threatened litigation.