Burton v. Kohn Law Firm

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit recently affirmed a ruling granting summary judgment in favor of a WI law firm. John H. Burton had sued Kohn Law Firm in federal court alleging that his rights under the FDCPA and WCA had been violated. Previously, Kohn, on behalf of Unifund CCR, had filed a lawsuit in WI circuit court against Burton. Unifund is a debt collection agency that was seeking to a collect a debt on a credit card account under the name of John H. Burton. The circuit court case was dismissed after Burton claimed that he was not the account holder and was the victim of identity theft. In the federal lawsuit, Burton specifically alleged Kohn was in violation of the FDCPA and WCA for failing to provide him with a right to cure the default. The notice provisions are applicable to debt collection of “consumer” debts incurred for “personal, family, or household purposes.” The 7th Circuit affirmed in favor of Kohn, based on Burton not having sufficient evidence to show the debt was a consumer debt. The Court reasoned, because Burton argued the debt was not his in state court, his assertion that it was a consumer debt in the federal case could not be reconciled.