After a slow start to the year for consumer statute litigation - specifically the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, the Fair Credit Reporting Act and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act - all three categories jumped in the second half of January, according to data from U.S. District Courts.
FDCPA lawsuits rose to 491 in the Jan. 16-31 reporting period compared to 377 in the first half of the month and 411 in the second half of January 2011. FCRA lawsuits jumped to 102 from 66 in the first half of January and from 47 in the second half of January 2011. TCPA lawsuits jumped to 46 from 18 in the first half of January - and up from 29 in the second half of January 2011).
Of the total lawsuits in the Jan. 16-31 period, there were an estimated 601 unique plaintiffs. Of those, an estimated 205, or 19%, were repeat litigants. Combined, those plaintiffs have filed 1,123 lawsuits since 2001.
An estimated 609 different collection agencies and creditors were sued during the Jan. 16-31 period, according to WebRecon LLC, the Grand Rapids, Mich.-based firm that tracks the data from the courts.
Truth-in-Lending Act cases were the exception to the spike in cases in the second half of the month, dropping slightly to 38 in the Jan. 16-31 period from 48 in the first half of January (but still up from 21 in the second half of January 2011).
The most active attorney was Craig Thor Kimmel from Kimmel & Silverman in Pennsylvania. Kimmel represented 19 consumers. Attorney Sergei Lemberg represented 17 consumers and Mark L. Vavreck represented 14. Lemberg is the most active attorney so far in 2012, having represented 33 consumers.
The top courts for lawsuits in the second half of January include: California Central District Court, Western Division, Los Angeles (53); Pennsylvania Eastern District Court, Philadelphia (42); and Minnesota District Court, Dmn (34).