Friday, October 23, 2009

debt collection - "communications" - automated telephone calls

Inman v. NCO Financial Systems - ED Pa. - October 21, 2009

http://www.paed.uscourts.gov/documents/opinions/09D1288P.pdf

Defendant debt collector's automated messages left on Plaintiff's answering machine consituted "communications" under the Fair Debt Collection Pracctices Act, 15 USC sec. 1692a(2). The court relied heavily on the decison in Foti v. NCO Financial Systems, 424 F.Supp. 2d 643 (SDNY 2006)

NCO’s records reflect that automated telephone calls were placed on the dates and times alleged, and that the content of the recordings on Plaintiff’s voicemail system accurately reflects a portion of NCO’s automated interactive “script.” Such portions of the script went as follows:

This message is for - Thomas Inman. Please call us back today at toll-free, 1-800-350-2457. When calling back, the Reference ID is EL9170. Once again, this number is toll-free 1-800-350-2457. Thank you. Goodbye.
or

This message is for - Thomas Inman. Please call us back today at toll-free, 1-800-350-2457. When calling back, the Reference ID is EL9170. Once again, the number is toll-free 1-800-350-2457. Thank you. Goodbye.

There were about 20 such calls over a one-month period.

IFP - CCP Rules - SSN not required

In Re: Order Amending Rule 240 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure,
No. 515 Civil Procedural Rules Docket
Opinion By: per curiam, Posted By: W.D. Prothonotary

Date Rendered: 10/22/2009
Date Posted: 10/22/2009
Opinion Type: Rules
515civ.pdf

Date Rendered: 10/22/2009
Date Posted: 10/22/2009
Opinion Type: Rules
515civ.attach.pdf

Explanatory Comment - There has been an increase in the concern about the use of social security numbers in court paper records. Consequently, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania has amended Rule 240(h) governing the form for the petition to proceed in forma pauperis by deleting the requirement for a petitioner to supply his or her social security number.

IFP - MDJ Rule 206 - SSN not required

In RE: Order Amending Rule 206 of the Rules of Conduct, Office Standards and Civil Procedure for Magisterial District Judges, No. 262 Magisterial Docket
Opinion By: per curiam
Posted By: W.D. Prothonotary

Opinion Type: Rules 262mag.pdf
Opinion Type: Rules 262mag.rpt.pdf
Opinion Type: Rules 262mag.attach.pdf


FINAL REPORT

Amendment to Rule 206 of the Rules of Conduct, Office Standards and Civil Procedure for Magisterial District Judges

REMOVAL OF SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER IN IFP PETITION
On October 22, 2009, effective immediately, upon recommendation of the Minor Court Rules Committee, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania approved an amendment to Rule 206 of the Rules of Conduct, Office Standards and Civil Procedure for Magisterial District Judges.

I. Background and Discussion
In the spring of 2007, the Court Administrator of Pennsylvania convened a working group to formulate a statewide public access policy for official case records of the magisterial district courts. The working group was asked to specifically address release of sensitive information, such as social security numbers (“SSNs”). Staff Counsel for the Minor Court Rules Committee (“Committee”) was a member of the working group. The working group concluded that SSNs should not be included on forms filed with magisterial district courts if that information is unnecessary for the court’s adjudication of the case or collection of the information is not otherwise required by law.

In light of that conclusion, the working group asked Staff Counsel if the Committee would consider removing the SSN requirement from the in forma pauperis (“IFP") petition described in Rule 206E(vi).

The Committee members discussed the working group’s request and agreed that the Rules of Conduct, Office Standards and Civil Procedure for Magisterial District Judges should be consistent with any procedures adopted by the Court governing access to information in the official case records of the magisterial district courts. In addition, the Committee unanimously concurred that there was no judicial rationale for requesting SSNs. Therefore, the Committee recommended removal of the SSN requirement from the IFP petition.

II. Approved Rule Changes
Accordingly, the Committee proposed the deletion of the line in the IFP petition that requires entry of a petitioner’s SSN. The Committee believes this amendment to be of a perfunctory nature. Therefore, the Committee respectfully recommended that the Court adopt this recommendation in accordance with Pa.R.J.A. No. 103(a)(3), without prior publication for public comment.

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