WAYNE - A woman is suing BG&M Associates and BG&M Funding for allegedly illegally attempting to collect debt from her after she had obtained counsel regarding the matter.
Shortly after he husband was killed in a car accident, Mary Jo England opened a VISA charge-card account with First National Legacy with a credit limit of $500, according to a complaint filed Oct. 9 in Wayne Circuit Court.
England claims after her account was established for approximately one year, she made timely payments to the defendant, but, when she began to experience severe financial distress attributed in part to the death of her husband, she was unable to continue making payments to her account and at the time, the balance on the account was approximately $465.
BG&M subsequently began to pursue collection of the outstanding balance and in January, a representative of the defendants called England's former employer, Wayne County Publications, for the purposes of collecting the alleged debt, according to the suit.
England claims during the conversation, the defendants' representative told her former office manager that if England did not respond within one hour, she would be served with official legal documents related to her prosecution for failure to pay the alleged debt to her account.
In response, England's former office manager informed the defendants that she no longer worked there and had taken a job at The Herald-Dispatch in Huntington, according to the suit.
England claims in March, a representative of the defendants called The Herald-Dispatch and asked to speak with her supervisor.
Just as before, the defendants' representative informed England's supervisor, Jill Briggs, that England had one hour to respond or else she would be served with official legal documents at her place of employment, according to the suit.
England claims she called and spoke to a representative of the defendants named Tamara Easton and Easton told her that her current balance was more than $1,700.
Upon hearing this, England informed Easton that she could only make a $50 payment at the time and in turn, made a payment to her account, which was accepted by the defendants, according to the suit.
England claims Briggs contacted her later on that same day and instructed her not to report to work the following day and the next day, she received a phone call informing her that her employment had been terminated.
Easton continued to call England on her personal phone number beginning in April and England began being represented by counsel in May, of which she informed the defendants, according to the suit.
England claims the defendants engaged in illegal debt collection after she obtained counsel.
The defendants also invaded England's privacy by communicating personal and private information to her employers and causing her harm, according to the suit.
England is seeking compensatory and punitive damages. She is being represented by Sean W. Cook of Meyer Ford Glasser & Radman.
The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge James H. Young Jr.
Wayne Circuit Court case number: 13-C-205