Quick analysis: 2019 Plays out exactly as expected…

Well, 2019 is officially over, and with the end comes no real surprises. Everything was down for the month of December: FDCPA -.3%, TCPA -12.4%, FCRA -6.7% and CFPB complaints -6.6%.

None of that is particularly surprising, but it isn’t all that important in the grand scheme either. Here is something that is more relevant: Full year 2019 numbers appear to have cemented in some long standing trends in consumer litigation filings.

• FDPCA is down -7.7% for the year (compare to -7.8% for 2018 over 2017, and -5.8% for 2017 over 2016)
• TCPA is down -14.2% (compare to -13.2% for 2018 over 2017, and -9.3% for 2017 over 2016)
• FCRA is up +8.9% (compare to +4.3% for 2018 over 2017, and +9.9% for 2017 over 2016)

In other words, FDCPA and TCPA are continuing their trajectories of slow descent almost exactly on pace from the last couple of years, yet at the same time the growth in FCRA litigation has doubled in intensity from last year (but is on pace from the year before). That tells us something about where consumer litigation filings are headed in 2020.

Incidentally, CFPB complaints did reverse course this year from last. While complaints are down -9.5% from 2018, in full year 2018 they were up +5.9% over 2017, and in 2017 they were up +18.5% from 2016.

Here are some longer term trends for you:

In other news, putative class actions were a bit high last month with 25.3% of FDCPA, 26.5% of TCPA and 7.8% of FCRA lawsuits filed that way.

About 32% of all plaintiffs who filed suit last month had filed at least once before.

And finally, in what I believe is his first time at the top, Kentucky attorney James McKenzie represented more consumers than anyone else in December (38) while New York attorney Craig Sanders has represented more consumers than any other attorney all year (432), retaining the title of most active consumer attorney of the year.

Current Month: Previous Month: Previous
Year to Date: Year to
Date Comp:
Dec 01, 2019
Dec 31, 2019
Nov 01, 2019
Nov 30, 2019
Dec 01, 2018
Dec 31, 2018
Jan 01, 2019
Dec 31, 2019
Jan 01, 2018
Dec 31, 2018
CFPB  3320 3553 -6.6% 3317 0.1% 46894 51803 -9.5%
FDCPA  637 639 -0.3% 570 11.8% 8315 9011 -7.7%
FCRA  374 401 -6.7% 320 16.9% 4938 4533 8.9%
TCPA  234 267 -12.4% 223 4.9% 3267 3806 -14.2%


Complaint Statistics:

3320 consumers filed CFPB complaints, and about 1084 consumers filed lawsuits under consumer statutes from Dec 01, 2019 to Dec 31, 2019.

  • 3320 CFPB Complaints
  • 637 FDCPA, 161 Class Action (25.3%)
  • 234 TCPA, 62 Class Action (26.5%)
  • 374 FCRA, 29 Class Action (7.8%)

Litigation Summary (scroll down for CFPB data):

  • Of those cases, there were about 1084 unique plaintiffs (including multiple plaintiffs in one suit).
  • Of those plaintiffs, about 350, or (32%), had sued under consumer statutes before.
  • Combined, those plaintiffs have filed about 4278 lawsuits since 2001
  • Actions were filed in 155 different US District Court branches.
  • About 687 different collection firms and creditors were sued.

The top courts where lawsuits were filed:

  • 65 Lawsuits: Illinois Northern District Court – Chicago
  • 58 Lawsuits: Georgia Northern District Court – Atlanta
  • 54 Lawsuits: New York Eastern District Court – Brooklyn
  • 41 Lawsuits: Florida Middle District Court – Tampa
  • 39 Lawsuits: Pennsylvania Eastern District Court – Philadelphia
  • 35 Lawsuits: California Central District Court – Western Division – Los Angeles
  • 33 Lawsuits: Nevada District Court – Las Vegas
  • 28 Lawsuits: New York Southern District Court – Foley Square
  • 28 Lawsuits: California Southern District Court – San Diego
  • 26 Lawsuits: Indiana Southern District Court – Indianapolis

The most active consumer attorneys were:

  • Representing 38 Consumers: JAMES R MCKENZIE
  • Representing 38 Consumers: JAMES H LAWSON
  • Representing 26 Consumers: EDWARD Y KROUB
  • Representing 26 Consumers: NATHAN CHARLES VOLHEIM
  • Representing 24 Consumers: MATTHEW THOMAS BERRY
  • Representing 23 Consumers: DAVID H KRIEGER
  • Representing 22 Consumers: TAXIARCHIS HATZIDIMITRIADIS
  • Representing 21 Consumers: JOSEPH LEWIS ERKENBRACK
  • Representing 21 Consumers: JOSEPH SCOTT DAVIDSON
  • Representing 18 Consumers: MOHAMMED OMAR BADWAN

Statistics Year to Date:
14107 total lawsuits for 2019, including:

  • 8315 FDCPA
  • 4938 FCRA
  • 3267 TCPA

Number of Unique Plaintiffs for 2019: 13336 (including multiple plaintiffs in one suit)

The most active consumer attorneys of the year:

  • Representing 432 Consumers: CRAIG B SANDERS
  • Representing 399 Consumers: SERGEI LEMBERG
  • Representing 347 Consumers: ANTRANIG N GARIBIAN
  • Representing 327 Consumers: NATHAN CHARLES VOLHEIM
  • Representing 294 Consumers: TAXIARCHIS HATZIDIMITRIADIS
  • Representing 265 Consumers: DAVID M BARSHAY
  • Representing 255 Consumers: DAVID SCOTT KLAIN
  • Representing 250 Consumers: JONATHAN FORREST RABURN
  • Representing 235 Consumers: DAVID W HEMMINGER
  • Representing 231 Consumers: MATTHEW THOMAS BERRY

CFPB Complaint Statistics:

There were 3320 complaints filed against debt collectors from Dec 01, 2019 to Dec 31, 2019.

Total number of debt collectors complained about: 747

The types of debt behind the complaints were:

  • 887 Other debt (27%)
  • 781 I do not know (24%)
  • 778 Credit card debt (23%)
  • 521 Medical debt (16%)
  • 119 Auto debt (4%)
  • 78 Payday loan debt (2%)
  • 58 Mortgage debt (2%)
  • 53 Federal student loan debt (2%)
  • 45 Private student loan debt (1%)

Here is a breakdown of complaints:

  • 1727 Attempts to collect debt not owed (52%)
  • 623 Written notification about debt (19%)
  • 303 Communication tactics (9%)
  • 298 False statements or representation (9%)
  • 284 Took or threatened to take negative or legal action (9%)
  • 85 Threatened to contact someone or share information improperly (3%)

The top five subissues were:

  • 786 Debt is not yours (24%)
  • 566 Debt was result of identity theft (17%)
  • 436 Didnt receive enough information to verify debt (13%)
  • 320 Debt was paid (10%)
  • 240 Attempted to collect wrong amount (7%)

The top states complaints were filed from are:

  • 389 Complaints: CA
  • 363 Complaints: TX
  • 344 Complaints: FL
  • 242 Complaints: GA
  • 221 Complaints: NY
  • 110 Complaints: PA
  • 103 Complaints: SC
  • 100 Complaints: NJ
  • 98 Complaints: IL
  • 93 Complaints: NC

The status of the month’s complaints are as follows:

  • 2719 Closed with explanation (82%)
  • 272 Closed with non-monetary relief (8%)
  • 243 In progress (7%)
  • 67 Untimely response (2%)
  • 19 Closed with monetary relief (1%)

This includes 3195 (96%) timely responses to complaints, and 125 (4%) untimely responses.

API Access

We offer two powerful APIs to businesses that communicate with consumers:

  • The primary Litigious Consumer Scrub uses a combination of name, geography (and optionally SSN) to identify consumers who have filed lawsuits in the past.
  • The Litigious Consumer Phone Scrub pulls every phone number from our proprietary database of litigants and runs your phones against ours.

These APIs allow you to check your data against our database on the fly. Clients love using this to handle risk management without missing a beat in their daily workflow.

Workers Comp Scrub

Workers Comp-inspired FDCPA lawsuits are growing aggressively, particularly in Florida. Only WebRecon can tell you who in your database may have a Florida Worker’s Comp case filed that could trigger litigation against you.

You can’t stop 100% of all lawsuits, but if you collect medical in Florida and you don’t have a process in place to show the court that you have a way to check every file against the Workers Comp database, then you have lost the case before it even begins.

Knock these suits out of the park with the Workers Comp Scrub.

Our Monthly Client Newsletter with The Litigant Hotsheet

Anyone can get our guest newsletter, but only clients get the version with the Litigant Hotsheet –  identifying the most active consumer Plaintiffs filing suit in jurisdictions around the country each month. Grab a coffee, shut your door and open your database to make sure you are doing all you can to stay safe.

Individual Vendor Consumer Complaint Search

Just like Vendor Monitoring, but without the monitoring. Search any business’s history of consumer complaints (Litigation, CFPB, BBB, State AG) with the click of a button! Great for on-the-fly gut checks of the companies you do business with.

Vendor Monitoring

Through vicarious liability, you can be held accountable for the bad behavior of your vendors. If they abuse consumers, for all intents and purposes, so do you. This is a big freakin’ deal!

But fear not, friend. WebRecon can track consumer litigation, CFPB, BBB and State AG Office complaints against the companies you do business with.

When a new complaint of any kind is filed against any of the companies you are monitoring, we’ll automatically push a report out to you with all of the publicly available details so you can react accordingly and if necessary, protect your interests.

The Litigious Consumer Phone Scrub

Would you knowingly dial a number attached to a consumer with a history of litigation? Of course not.

But thousands of companies do just that, every single day. If you’d like to know who they are, simply review the court dockets. They are the ones getting sued the most.

Sure, you can stop dialing consumers. But your marketing and operations teams might not be too excited about that plan.

Another idea? Identify the consumers most likely to sue you, based on previous litigation histories, and just don’t call them.

Identify high-risk phones quickly & easily, before you expose yourself to unnecessary risk.

Litigation Context Search

This is really cool.

Our primary search engine is really designed to search for parties to litigation. Need to know more about a consumer plaintiff? That’s easy. Defendant? Check. Lawyer? No problem.

But if you need to find all 1099C lawsuits filed in July 2020… not so much.

Which is why we developed the Context Search. We have pulled out and indexed the full text from over 140k consumer lawsuits and made them available to you in a search engine, with more than 1000 new lawsuits added each month. Use it to search the text of filed litigation so you can easily identify those hard-to-define trends and cases worth following.

Individual Search Engine

Instantly and easily search our proprietary database for any lawsuit participant – Plaintiff, Defendant or Attorney.

In the results, we’ll show you the full consumer litigation history of any participant, including the “docket data” (who, what, why, where, when) and – in many cases – we can even provide a copy of their actual filed lawsuits.

You can also search by phone, date range, federal/state, class action, court, statute, etc. We offer a ton of flexibility to get you the exact search result you are looking for.

The Litigant Alert Ongoing Monitoring Process

Just like our one-time batch process, but without the whole “one time” thing.

When one of your consumers files new litigation against anyone in the future, you should be the first to know. Our monitoring service can make that happen.

WebRecon can monitor your entire database (or any segment of it) for future instances of consumer litigation filed by the very consumers you are working with, right now!

It is simple to add new consumers to the watchlist, remove inactive accounts, download full reports, etc.

Best of all, we only charge you for the volume of your monitoring database – not the frequency of the searches. Search daily, weekly, every Tuesday and Friday, the 15th of each month, whatever – it is totally up to you! You won’t pay a penny more.

The Litigant Alert One-Time Batch Process

This is our flagship service. Find out why hundreds of companies won’t contact any consumers before running them through WebRecon’s Litigant Alert.

This process identifies consumers with a history of litigation quickly & easily. If they have ever filed lawsuits under FDCPA, TCPA, FCRA or similar statutes, you’ll find out here. 

WebRecon’s proprietary database is simply the most comprehensive collection of dangerous consumer litigation data in existence. 

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