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SUMMARY JUDGMENT FOR DEFENDANT Legal Malpractice – Claimed violation of Fair Debt Collection Practices Act – Fear of fatal capital punishment for failure to pay student loans – Emotional injuries.

U.S. District Court - Southern District of Florida

This action was brought by a pro se plaintiff under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The plaintiff alleged that the defendant attorney violated the act and caused her to believe that she would be executed, or put to death, for failing to pay her student loans. The defendant maintained that he followed all appropriate procedures in serving the plaintiff with a writ of execution regarding the defaulted loans.

The plaintiff claimed that, when she received a writ of execution (to execute on a judgment by attaching her assets), she believed that the document indicated that she was to be put to death. The plaintiff contended that she was fleeing the death sentence when she mistakenly ran over and killed her parent’s cat. The plaintiff alleged that she suffered emotional injuries as a result of the ordeal.The case was previously dismissed on summary judgment, appealed by the plaintiff and remanded on the sole remaining issue of whether the defendant’s failure to collect any assets more than a year after the writs’ issuance was evidence that he never intended to collect in the first place. The defendant argued in a second motion for summary judgment that the plaintiff had intentionally frustrated his collection efforts. That summary judgment motion was granted by the trial court, whose decision was then affirmed by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.

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