Consumer’s denial of credit card debt did not divest him of standing to sue under FDCPA

The plaintiff corporation filed a suit in the municipal court alleging that it was the assignee of the defendant’s bank credit card account and the defendant had breached his agreement with the bank by failing to pay the account as required.
The defendant filed an answer denying that he was a cardholder under the account in question. The defendant also asserted a counterclaim alleging violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) as well as negligence and invasion of privacy. The plaintiff filed a Civ.R. 12(B)(6) motion to dismiss the plaintiff’s counterclaims.
The defendant moved to transfer the case to the common pleas court, which then granted the plaintiff’s motion to dismiss his counterclaim on plaintiff’s theory that he was not a party since he denied the debt. The plaintiff then voluntarily dismissed its claims against the defendant without prejudice.
The appellate court concluded that the defendant was a party defendant as he was served with a summons on the complaint by certified mail at his residence address. Also, the defendant was a real party in interest with respect to his counterclaims, and therefore had standing to bring them. Further, the fact that the plaintiff had voluntarily dismissed its claims against the defendant did not divest the trial court of continued jurisdiction to hear the counterclaims.
The court also determined that the plaintiff had attempted to collect the bank account from the defendant through a dunning letter. Thus, the defendant fell squarely into the definition of a consumer under the FDCPA. Therefore, the trial court erred by dismissing the defendant’s counterclaims. Accordingly, the trial court’s judgment was reversed and the case was remanded.
Midland Funding, LLC v. Stowe, 2009-Ohio-7084.