CHARLESTON -– Repeated phone calls from a debt collection agency to a woman's work place prompted her to file suit against the companies responsible for the debt collection attempts.

Claiming defendant debt collectors Atkins Law Offices and NCO Financial Systems harassed her in an effort to collect a debt from her, Julia B. Gray filed a lawsuit Oct. 4 in Kanawha Circuit Court.

"Defendants made false representations to Plaintiff that the alleged existing obligation would be increased through the addition of improper collection fees and costs if she failed to immediately pay the amounts they alleged that she owed," the suit states.

In addition, the defendants placed numerous calls to Gray at her work place and refused to validate her alleged debt, the complaint says.

In her two-count complaint, Gray alleges the defendants violated the West Virginia Consumer Credit and Protection Act and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

She seeks a declaratory judgment, proclaiming the defendants' actions to be in violation of the aforementioned acts, plus actual and punitive damages, statutory penalties, costs, pre- and post-judgment interest and other relief the court deems just. In addition, she seeks a permanent injunction, barring the defendants from continuing to engage in their illegal actions.

NCO removed the case to U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia. It says the case belongs in a federal venue because Gray asserts it violated a federal statute.

G. Christopher Greason of The Rose Law Firm in Albany will be representing Gray.

Albert C. Dunn Jr. and David P. Cook Jr. of Charleston will be representing NCO.

U.S. District Court case number: 2:10-cv-1185

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