San Diego County woman claims law firm used abusive, threatening practices to collect debt

By Elizabeth Alt | May 24, 2018

A San Diego County woman has filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California against a California law firm alleging abusive debt collection practices that violate the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

A San Diego County woman has filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California against a California law firm alleging abusive debt collection practices that violate the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. 

According to the suit filed by Barbara Franklin on May 22 against Reynolds, Jensen, Swan, & Pershing LLP (RJSP) and Philip Supina, Franklin obtained a $50,000 loan from Supina to bring her son to the United States from Thailand in 2015. 

When the relationship between Franklin and Supina deteriorated, Supina hired RJSP to act as the agent to recover the debt. 

RJSP sent a letter to Franklin in January 2018 to recover the debt, but the letter stated the debt owed was $35,000, instead of the $32,500.01 that Franklin states is the actual amount. Franklin says that the “stated purpose of the letter was to reach a reasonable accommodation that will work for both of you to resolve the obligation" and urged Franklin to secure a promissory note against her home. 

Franklin alleges the letter RJSP sent concluded by admonishing her and threatening her to reply within 10 days or “Supina would be forced to pursue legal remedies, including litigation.” 

Franklin claims that despite three payments made since the letter, RJSP notified her former counsel in April that Franklin had not made any payments, and stated, “By operation of law, the debt is accelerated now.” Franklin says that the defendant has refused to accept any subsequent payments.  

The complaint alleges that Franklin was not provided a reasonable amount of time to contest the debt and states “the debtor’s right to dispute the debt must not be overshadowed or inconsistent with other debt collection activities within the thirty (30) day period to avoid confusing the least sophisticated debtors as to the debtor’s validation rights.”

The complaint states that “it was unfair and unconscionable for defendant to allege that plaintiff owed approximately $2,500 more than her remaining balance and then threaten litigation if she failed to respond to the letter within 10 days – 20 days less then she is allotted by law.”

Franklin is requesting actual and statutory damages, court costs, treble damages, and a trial by jury.

Plaintiff is represented by Joshua B. Swigart and Yana D. Hart of Hyde & Swigart APC in San Diego. 

U.S. District Court for Southern District of California, Case Number 3:18-cv-01022-JAH-KSC

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