U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit
Consumer Protection – FDCPA — venue
The correct interpretation of “judicial district or similar legal entity” in § 1692i is the smallest geographic area that is relevant for determining venue in the court system in which the case is filed.
“The alternative approach, favored by the panel majority, would be for the court in an FDCPA case to defer to each state’s definition of ‘judicial district.’ One problem with that approach is that ‘judicial district’ is not a defined term in state law. A deeper problem is that, had Congress been content to adopt the states’ rules governing jurisdiction and venue, there would have been no reason to impose venue limitations on debt collectors, as the federal Act does; the debt collector could have sued wherever state law permitted him to sue. The presence of the venue provision in the Act shows congressional dissatisfaction with allowing state law to determine where suits to collect consumer debts can be filed.”
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Lawrence, J., Hamilton & Posner, J.