An estimated 577 lawsuits were filed against debt collection agencies and creditors in the March 16-31 period, including 525 Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) cases and 71 Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) cases, according to data from U.S. District Courts. Some lawsuits cited more than one alleged violation.

Telephone Consumer Protection Act lawsuits soared in the second half of March - to 64 compared with 41 between March 1-15 and 14 in the year-ago period. WebRecon LLC, a Grand Rapids, Mich.-based company, tracks the data from U.S. District Courts.

FDCPA and FCRA cases were little changed from year-ago comparisons. The 525 FDCPA cases in the second half of March compares with 460 from March 1-15 and 565 in the year-ago period. The 71 FCRA cases in the second half of March is down 41.8% from 122 in the first half of March and up a tick from 61 in the year-ago period.

An estimated 649 different agencies and creditors were sued in the second half of March. Of the total cases, there were an estimated 620 unique plaintiffs, including 205 - or 34% - who previously had sued under consumer statutes. Combined, those plaintiffs have filed an estimated 1,224 lawsuits since 2001.

Year-to-date, FDCPA cases reached 2,669, down a tick from 2,703 at the same time a year ago. FCRA cases through March totaled 595, up 96.4% from the 303 pace of 2011. TCPA cases also are up significantly, 84.3% growth to 258 from 140 a year ago. Finally, Truth-in-Lending Act cases, at 236 through March 31, are down from 336 a year ago.

California's Central District Court - Western Division, Los Angeles - was the most active district court for filings in the March 16-31 period, with 41 lawsuits. The Colorado District Court - Denver - was close behind with 39 cases.

The most active consumer attorney in the second half of March was Dennis R. Kurz, representing 18 consumers. Year-to-date, Sergei Lemberg has represented 84 consumers.

WebRecon is undergoing a transformation to become the Bureau of Litigant Data and expects to be able to trace additional data going forward, including information on non-filed litigation demand attempts.

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