Michael Andrew Collier, a fully disabled veteran, has voluntarily withdrawn his lawsuit against a law firm he alleged told him he "should have died" rather than collect disability payments, according to federal court documents.
Law firm Gurstel Chargo had been hired by a loan firm to collect on defaulted student loans owed by Collier's wife, Kim Collier-Dingman. The firm in April 2012 obtained a court order that required Desert Schools Federal Credit Union to block her access to the $6,143.88 in her account.
But the money was from veteran disability payments resulting from head and spine injuries that Collier suffered while serving in the Army, according to court documents. A judge previously ruled that the funds were legally exempt from collections. After that hearing, according to Stars and Stripes, Collier said he called an unidentified legal assistant at Gurstel Chargo to determine how to collect his money.
Collier claimed the legal assistant swore at him and then said, according to the complaint: "You cant afford an attorney. You owe us. I hope your wife divorces [you]. If you would have served our country better, you would not be a disabled veteran living off Social Security while the rest of us honest Americans work our [expletive] off. Too bad; you should have died.
Harassment and profanity are violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The Colliers sued for the sum in the account, along with punitive damages.
The case was dismissed last week in Arizona District Court. The Colliers signed the dismissal, thus agreeing with Gurstel Chargo's internal investigation that determined nobody associated with the firm was at fault.