An estimated 712 different collection agencies and creditors are named in 851 consumer statute lawsuits filed nationwide in January, according to data from U.S. District Court complaint dockets. The monthly total includes 716 cases citing violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), up from 551 in January 2009. The number of Fair Credit Reporting Act lawsuits actually dropped last month, to 77 from 109 cases in January 2009.

In the second half of January, consumer statute lawsuits reached 465, up from 386 in the first half of the month, according to research firm WebRecon LLC in Grand Rapids, Mich., which compiles the monthly data and commonly analyzes trends occurring throughout each month. Of the 465, there are 484 unique plaintiffs, including 141 who previously sued citing consumer statute violations. Combined, those plaintiffs have filed an estimated 801 lawsuits since 2001. Some other consumer statutes included in the monthly data include the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, the Truth-in-Lending Act and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act.

Last year, lawsuits citing FDCPA violations reached 8,287, a record high and easily topping the previous mark of 5,188 set a year earlier, according to U.S. District Courts. The number of FDCPA lawsuits in 2006 and 2007 totaled 3,220 and 3,813, respectively.
Other consumer statute lawsuits saw negligible changes in 2009, compared with a year earlier. FCRA lawsuits, for example, totaled 1,174, up slightly in 2009 from 1,164 in 2008. The total remains down from a high of 1,347 reached in 2007.

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