Jury Awards $83 Million Against Portfolio Recovery Associates

A Missouri woman was awarded $83 million after receiving a favorable judgment against Portfolio Recovery Associates — one of the largest debt buyers in the country. A few years back, Portfolio Recovery Associates began contacting Maria Mejia requesting that she pay off her $1,130 credit card bill. Mejia responded by informing the company that she did not have an account with them, and that they must have the wrong person.

Had they done their due diligence in confirming the owner of the debt, they would have realized that it belonged to a man in Kansas City, Kansas and not Mejia of Kansas City, Missouri. After repeatedly insisting that the debt was not hers, Mejia acquired the legal help of an attorney who spent months trying to clear her name. Although Portfolio Recovery Associates lacked proof, they filed a lawsuit against Mejia for what they assumed to be her outstanding debt.

Mejia responded with a counterclaim stating that Portfolio Recovery Associates had violated the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act and was guilty of malicious prosecution. The judge sided with Mejia as they found that the company “acted in bad faith, abused the discovery process and repeatedly violated this court’s discovery orders.”

With this ruling in mind, the jury awarded Mejia $252,000 for FDCPA violations and $82.9 million in damages for malicious prosecution, totaling to just above $83 million. This decision was especially damaging for Portfolio Recovery Associates as the total award roughly represented half of their annual income.

FDCPA Violations

Third party debt collection companies — otherwise known as debt buyers — commonly pursue the wrong individual for a debt. When they buy accounts from the original creditors, they tend to lack pertinent information like who is the original owner of the debt. When they find who they believe to be the debtor, they’ll do whatever necessary to get the individual to pay up including:

  • Using aggressive language
  • Calling an individual after being instructed not to
  • Threatening an individual with jail time
  • Calling other people regarding someone else’s debt
  • Using an automated dialing system without consent
  • Failing to identify themselves
  • … and many other harassing tactics

If you or someone you know has been the victim of such invasive debt collection tactics, don’t hesitate to reach out to an experienced Florida FDCPA attorney. The qualified attorneys at The Law Offices of Jibrael S. Hindi can help you put an end to the invasive and harassing collection tactics today and get paid! Call (844)-JIBRAEL to speak with our team of Florida FDCPA attorneys.