HUNTINGTON — A couple's lawsuit against Universal Fidelity LP, a debt collector, cites alleged violation of the West Virginia Consumer Credit and Protection Act and the West Virginia Computer Crime and Abuse Act, common law negligence, intentional and/or negligent infliction of emotional distress and common law invasion of privacy.

Keith and Britney Elliot filed a complaint on May 12 in Cabell Circuit Court against Universal Fidelity LP, alleging that the debt collector knowingly violated the law by directly contacting the plaintiffs instead of the legal counsel.

According to the complaint, the plaintiffs allege that they secured a loan from the defendant and fell into arrears. The defendant, in an attempt to collect the debt, started calling the plaintiffs, they claim. The plaintiffs appointed legal counsel to speak on their behalf, and notified the defendant about it, the suit says. However, despite this, the defendant, through its agents, still communicated directly with the plaintiffs via phone, written communications and and in other means, the suit alleges. The plaintiffs holds Universal Fidelity LP responsible because the defendant allegedly was properly notified about the presence of a legal counsel who would act as the contact person when it comes to debt collection, but that arrangement was not acknowledged by the defendant.

The plaintiffs request a trial by jury and seek actual damages for annoyance, inconvenience, distress, bother, anxiety, and the defendant’s alleged repeated violations of the WVCCPA; statutory damages in the maximum allowed by West Virginia Code Sec. 46A-5101(1); cost of litigation including, but not limited to, attorney fees and court costs; general damages for the defendant’s negligence; general damages for the defendant’s conduct; punitive damages; and any other relief the court shall deem proper under the circumstances. They are represented by Matthew P. Stapleton and Scott G. Stapleton of Stapleton Law Offices in Huntington.

Cabell Circuit Court Case number 16-c-336

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