WHEELING -- A Weirton man claims a collection agency violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act by calling his relatives in attempts to collect his debt.
Larry Bowman filed a lawsuit Feb. 3 in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia against Hoffman, Weinberg and O'Brien.
Bowman claims he began receiving telephone calls from Hoffman, Weinberg and O'Brien in March 2009 attempting to collect his alleged debt. Continuing until July, the collection agency called him at least twice a day, according to the complaint.
In addition to calling Bowman about his alleged debt, Hoffman, Weinberg and O'Brien began placing calls to his father, brother-in-law, sister-in-law and father-in-law, the suit states.
"During these telephone calls to Plaintiff's family members, Defendant representatives often disclosed the name of Defendant's company without first having been asked to do so, and divulged to his family that Plaintiff allegedly owed debt," the complaint says.
During some conversations with Bowman and his family, Hoffman, Weinberg and O'Brien representatives would threaten to take legal action if he failed to pay the debt, Bowman claims.
Many of Hoffman, Weinberg and O'Brien's actions constituted violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, including their identification of company name while communicating with someone other than Bowman without having requested to do so, according to the complaint. In addition, the debt collection agency wrongly communicated to someone other than Bowman and informed that person of Bowman's alleged debt, caused a telephone to ring continuously with the intent to annoy, threatened to take action that could not legally be taken, failed to disclose in every conversation that the communication was from a debt collector and failed to send Bowman written notice of his debt, the suit states.
Because of the collection agency, Bowman has suffered personal humiliation, embarrassment, mental anguish and emotional distress, the complaint says.
In his two-count suit, Bowman seeks actual and compensatory damages, statutory damages of $1,000 for each violation of the FDCPA, attorneys' fees, costs and other relief the court deems just.
David B. Levin of Luxenburg and Levin in Beachwood, Ohio, will be representing him.
U.S. District Court case number: 5:10-CV-13