Things looked bad for an Illinois law firm in 2014 when a consumer complaint was filed in federal district court against it. It was accused of violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The firm’s purported violation: Not anticipating when an appellate court would overrule established precedent.
And an opinion of United States Supreme Court overruled the firm’s best defense: that it had made a good faith legal error.
The matter began in 2013 when the law firm filed a consumer collection action. The FDCPA requires the filing of collection actions in the “judicial district” where the debtor lives or signed the contract. The law firm reasoned that if the debtor lived in the Cook County judicial district, filing the suit would be proper there. Its choice of venue was the First Municipal District of the Circuit Court of Cook County.
But there was a complication. There are many municipal districts in Cook County and the consumer did not actually live in the First Municipal District (although he did live in Cook County).
So should the law firm file the suit in the municipal district where the debtor lived? Or was it enough to file in the “judicial” district of …