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Bingham v. Collection Bureau, Inc.
United States District Court for the District of North Dakota
505 F. Supp. 864 (1981)
Michael and Peggy Bingham (plaintiffs) were a married couple. Peggy gave birth to their child in a hospital, but the Binghams could not afford to pay the full medical bill. Collections Bureau, Inc. (Collections) (defendant) was hired by the hospital to collect payment from the Binghams. Collections sent five letters to the Binghams notifying them of the owed amount and their duty to pay the hospital. However, the Binghams still did not pay the amount. Collections then began to telephone the Binghams, calling them 14 times over the course of 30 days. During these telephone calls, Collections asked the Binghams if they owned jewelry or other assets. Collections also asked why the Binghams had children they could not afford. Additionally, Collections told the Binghams that their wages could be garnished or attached to pay off the amount that they still owed the hospital. While most of the calls were made during the day, Collections called the Binghams at night on at least one occasion. Michael answered the call on that occasion. When Michael learned that it was Collections on the line, he hung up. Collections immediately called back. The Binghams eventually sued Collections for violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (Act), 15 U.S.C. § 1692 et seq.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Van Sickle, J.)
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