A Kansas City, Missouri woman recently won a nearly 83 million dollar settlement against a debt collector who pursued her for a debt she never owed. Maria Guadalupe Meija Alcantara was originally contacted by Portfolio Recovery Associates two years back. The company, known to “take no prisoners” had filed a lawsuit against the woman for an $1130.14 debt that belonged to a man living in Kansas City, Kansas.
Alcantara and her husband were struggling to make ends meet and were fearful that they would lose their home. She contacted legal aid who tried, time and again, to convince the company that they had the wrong person, but to no avail. When the lawsuit was filed against her, she then filed a counter-suit alleging that they violated the Fair Credit Collections Practices Act.
Sam Tabar (bloomberg.com) has read that a judge ruled against the debt collector last October and last Monday, a jury awarded Alcantara over $83 million dollars in both actual and punitive damages. Alcantara’s lawyer said the jury awarded that amount to get the company’s attention. A spokesman for Portfolio Recovery Associates calls the verdict “outlandish” and that if the settlement is upheld, it would equal more than half their profits from last year. If the settlement is upheld, half the money will go to Alcantara and the other half would go to a victim’s compensation fund.