Byline: Derek Hawkins
7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Case Name: Beth LaVallee v. Med-1 Solutions, LLC,
Case No.: 17-3244
Officials: WOOD, Chief Judge, and SYKES and HAMILTON, Circuit Judges.
Focus: FDCPA Violation
Debt collector Med-1 Solutions, LLC, attempted to recover two unpaid medical bills on behalf of Beth Lavallee's healthcare provider. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act ("FDCPA" or "the Act") required Med-1 to disclose certain information to Lavallee about her debts within a specific time frame. 15 U.S.C. 1692g(a). Med-1 could satisfy its 1692g(a) disclosure obligations by including the required information in its "initial communication" with Lavallee or by sending "a written notice containing" the disclosures within five days after that "initial communication." Id.
In March and April 2015, Med-1 sent Lavallee two emails, one for each debt. The emails contained hyperlinks to a Med-1 vendor's web server. Once there, a visitor had to click through multiple screens to access and download a .pdf document containing the disclosures required by 1692g(a). Lavallee never opened these emails. When the hospital called her in November to discuss a different medical debt, she learned about the earlier debts and was told that they had been referred to Med-1 for collection. She then called Med-1 to inquire about them, but the debt collector didn't provide the required disclosures. Nor did it send a written notice within the next five days.
Lavallee sued Med-1 for violating 1692g(a). She alleged that Med-1 never provided the statutory disclosures, either during the November phone call or within five days as required. Med-1 responded that its March and April emails were the "initial...