In an opinion issued February 26, 2013, the United States Supreme Court held that a defendant may recover its costs[1] following the successful defense of a claim brought under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The Supreme Court’s opinion in Marx v. General Revenue Corporation, Slip Op. 11-1175, resolved a conflict among Circuit Courts whether defendants were entitled to recover costs following the successful defense of an FDCPA claim.

Some Circuit Courts have held that a defendant may recover costs if it is the “prevailing party,” while other Circuit Courts have held that a defendant may recover costs and fees only when a consumer has brought an FDCPA claim in bad faith. Marx makes clear that the trial court has discretion to award costs to the prevailing party in any FDCPA action. If an action has been brought in bad faith, the trial court has discretion to award attorney fees, in addition to costs.

 

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[1] “Costs” are defined by 28 U.S.C. § 1920, and include -(1) Fees of the clerk and marshal;(2) Fees for printed or electronically recorded transcripts necessarily obtained for use in the case;(3) Fees and disbursements for printing and witnesses;(4) Fees for exemplification and the costs of making copies of any materials where the copies are necessarily obtained for use in the case;(5) Docket fees under section 1923 of this title;(6) Compensation of court appointed experts, compensation of interpreters, and salaries, fees, expenses, and costs of special interpretation services under section 1828 of this title.

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