This lawsuit alleges that residential mortgage service company Nationstar Mortgage Holdings, Inc. repeatedly telephoned a Florida resident when the company had notice she was represented by counsel in a foreclosure proceeding, in violation of the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act and Florida consumer laws.
The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (47 U.S.C. § 227 et seq.) was enacted by Congress in 1991 to regulate interstate intrusive nuisance calls. The Act prohibits the use of pre-recorded messages to make any call to a wireless number in the absence of an emergency or express consent of the party called.
Florida statutes relating to debt collection prohibit contacting a consumer who is represented by counsel “if the person knows the debtor is represented by an attorney with respect to such debt . . . . ” (Fla. Stat. § 559.72 (18)
Florida resident Kristi Huffman was the subject of a 2014 foreclosure action related to a mortgage that Nationstar was servicing. On February 12, 2015, Notice was filed in the foreclosure proceeding that Huffman was represented by an attorney. In May 2015, Huffman and her lender entered a joint stipulation in the foreclosure action where she consented to a judgment and the lender relinquished any right to seek a deficiency balance from her.
Huffman filed suit against Nationstar on October 21, 2015, individually and behalf of similarly situated individuals, alleging that after the attorney representation notice filing date and with knowledge that she was represented by counsel as it was the servicer of the mortgage at issue, Nationwide placed multiple telephone calls to her cellular phone in an attempt to collect an alleged debt relating to the mortgage account, in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act and Florida consumer statutes. The complaint further alleges Nationwide had knowledge that her interests and obligations had been discharged on May 12, 2015 but continued to call her after that date even after she repeatedly advised them that she was represented by counsel in the foreclosure matter. All calls were made without Huffman’s consent and placed by an automatic dialing system (ATDS) which were identifed by a pause before a live person came on the line.
Huffman seeks class certification for Florida residents who were the subject of Nationstar debt collection activities and represented by counsel according to Nationstar’s records and continued to receive prerecorded or ATDS calls over the prior four years. The complaint seeks monetary damages, an injunction and attorney fees.
We will update this lawsuit in early 2016.