In Burton v Kohn, John H Burton filed a Fair Debt Collection Practices Acts (FDCPA)/Wisconsin Consumer Act (WCA) against Kohn Law Firm SC and Unifund to avoid paying a debt.
This all started in February 2015, when Kohn Law Firm on behalf of Unifund filed a lawsuit in Brown County Circuit Court to collect a debt against Burton. Burton stated that he had no knowledge of the credit agreement and filed a counterclaim alleging Kohn had violated the FDCPA/WCA by filing the complaint without providing a “Notice of a Right to Cure.” On September 15, 2016 Brown County Circuit court dismissed without prejudice all claims.
On May 19, 2016, Burton filed the FDCPA suit in US District court against Kohn. And later amended the complaint adding Unifund in January 10,2017. In trying to establish that this was a consumer debt, Burton’s console attempted to use a Citibank employee’s e-mail sent on June 12, 2017, that stated the account in question was a “consumer account.” The US District Court dismissed as ‘hearsay’ the statement by the Citibank employee. In addition, it also disagreed with Burton that the mere fact that a Citibank billing statement might state that it was “personal” did not make it a “consumer debt.” The court further stated that the burden of proof was on Burton to show it was a “consumer debt.” It further found that Burton had failed to prove this.
Based on this, the court dismissed by summary judgement Burton’s FDCPA/WCA complaint and granted by summary judgement Kohn/Unifund’s motion stating that because it is not consumer debt the FDCPA/WCA was not violated.