An estimated 641 different collection agencies and creditors were sued in the first half of August by individuals who have filed an estimated 1,259 consumer statute lawsuits since 2001, according to WebRecon LLC, the Grand Rapids, Mich.-based company that tracks the data from U.S. district courts.

Of the plaintiffs in the Aug. 1-15 period, an estimated 37%  - or 233 - had previously sued under consumer statutes.

There were no surprises in the latest period, according to WebRecon's CEO Jack Gordon.

"FDCPA [Fair Debt Collection Practices Act] litigation is still lackluster compared to last period and last year, while FCRA [Fair Credit Reporting Act] and TCPA [Telephone Consumer Protection Act] are both up from last period and last year," he says. "The only interesting trend is that FDCPA does appear to be slowly narrowing the gap between this year and last year.

"Two months ago, the difference was 3.2%. Six weeks ago it spiked to 6.7%, four weeks ago it was 7%, two weeks ago it was 5.4%, and now it is 4.1%. This shows the spike may have been an anomaly, and if current trends continue it may eventually close the gap altogether," he adds.

FDCPA lawsuits in the Aug. 1-15 period totaled 525, down 7.4% from 567 in the July 16-31 period but up 17.2% from 448 in the year-ago period. FCRA lawsuits in the latest period totaled 104, up 23.8% from 84 from July 16-31 and up 40.5% from 74 in the year-ago period. TCPA lawsuits in the latest period totaled 45, up from 43 in the July 16-31 period and 23 in the year-ago period.

FDCPA cases year-to-date are tracking 4.1% behind last year's pace (7,230 compared to 7,539 last year through Aug. 15). FCRA cases are up 60.4% year-to-date, reaching 1,455 through Aug. 15 compared to 907 a year ago. Finally, TCPA cases are up 49.9% year-to-date (658 compared to 439 a year ago).

The most active district courts for the cases included: Colorado District Court - Denver (35 lawsuits); Illinois Northern District Court - Chicago (30) and Pennsylvania Eastern District Court - Philadelphia (26).

The most active consumer attorneys were: Sergei Lemberg (representing 30 consumers); Dennis R. Kurz (20); Gary D. Nitzkin (16) and David M. Larson (15). Lemberg (230 consumers) followed by Larson (209) are the most active consumer attorneys so far this year.

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