NEW ORLEANS -- A federal court judge has awarded a Louisiana woman a $1,500 default judgment in her Fair Debt Collection Practices suit against a New York collections agency.
Laura Michaud took legal action against Unified Asset Solutions LLC in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana in February after receiving a voicemail from United threatening her with legal action over what it deemed to be an unpaid debt.
The verdict also calls for Michaud to receive legal interest from the date of the judgment and have all taxable court costs covered by the Amherst-based company.
In her filing, Michaud said she was first contacted through a call to her home by a collector who also threatened her with being served in a potential civil action at her place of employment.
Shaken by the threats and dreading the prospect of being embarrassed at her workplace by being legally served in front of her co-workers, Michaud told U.S. District Judge Carl J. Barbier she stayed home to keep the situation private.
In the end, the attorney for Michaud told the court no one ever attempted to serve her, and that they believe Unified Asset Solutions was threatening legal action it never planned on carrying out so it could secure payment from her, a violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The law states that no collector shall be allowed to use abusive, unfair, or deceptive practices for the purposes of collecting a debt.
Beyond violating the Fair Debt Collections Act, Michaud’s suit also accused Unified Asset Solutions of intentional infliction of emotional distress and invasion of privacy.
In addition to an award for damages, Michaud also sought statutory damages, attorney fees, court costs and expenses.
She was represented in the action by New Orleans attorney Marc R. Michaud.