Fair Debt Collection Practices Act lawsuits decreased for the second consecutive year in 2013, down 10 percent from 2012, which itself was down 7 percent from 2011. Telephone Consumer Protection Act litigation exploded in 2013, up 69 percent from 2012. Finally, Fair Credit Reporting Act litigation in 2013 rose 1 percent from 2012. WebRecon LLC, a Grand Rapids, Mich.-based firm, gathered the data from U.S. district courts.
The number of 2013 lawsuits include many that cited more than one violation:
"FDCPA litigation has probably come close to bottoming out and will likely stabilize in the 9,000 to 10,000 [per year] area [in 2014]," predicted Jack Gordon, CEO of WebRecon. "That assumes a minimum of around 750 lawsuits [per] month on average, which seems to be where we are now."
An estimated 881 different collection agencies and creditors were sued under consumer statutes in December, filing 767 FDCPA lawsuits, 221 FCRA cases and 173 TCPA lawsuits. Of the total cases filed, there were an estimated 1,026 unique plaintiffs. Of those plaintiffs, an estimated 371 (or 36.2 percent) previously sued under one of these consumer statutes. Combined, those plaintiffs have filed approximately 1,896 lawsuits since 2001. Lawsuits were filed in 144 different district court branches in December.
The consumer attorneys who represented the most consumers in legal actions in 2013 include:
Sergei Lemberg (369)
David Michael Larson (279)
Craig Thor Kimmel (235)
Daniel A. Edelman (225)
Jody Berke Burton (210)