November 30, 2020

Volume X, Number 335

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Ugly TCPA Conspiracy Case Cleansed a Bit by Dismissing Counterclaims

One year ago, Plaintiff Navient – a student loan and collection company – flipped a switch and sued copious plaintiff-lawyers in Navient v. Law Offices of Jeffrey Lohman.  Navient alleged a devious plot, hatched to bilk Navient out of millions. Navient claimed that these plaintiff-lawyers hunted student borrowers with debt to Navient, convinced them to stop paying Navient, and to instead pay them to renegotiate their debts.  The mucho unkosher part is how the plaintiff-lawyers stirred up consumer claims.  As alleged in the original complaint:

“…[They] would often provide their clients with a “script” for “revoking” consent to receive telephone calls from [Navient], and would surreptitiously stay on the telephone lines while calls with [Navient] were taking place… [They] often recorded such conversations, without the knowledge or consent of [Navient]… [They] frequently instructed their clients not to answer any further calls from [Navient], the intent and effect being to ensure the number of potentially actionable calls was inflated…”

“Alternatively, [they] would issue letters to [Navient] on behalf of their purported clients requesting to redirect communications to them. In their letters, [Defendants] advised the debt was ‘disputed’ …to manufacture TCPA claims by laying an arguable predicate for such claims with a deliberately vague and muddled ‘revocation’ of TCPA consent.”

After the lawyers manufactured these TCPA claims the students would be referred to Defendant Law Offices of Jeffrey Lohman who’d crank up the claims into lawsuits for max settlement extraction.

Navient went all out; it’s a messy docket, everflowing with a dozen+ named defendant attorneys and law firms.  Not satisfied, in December 2019, Navient added ten defendants to the brawl, including Defendant GST for being part of the scheme. 

Defendant GST is a super niche company that purchases accounts receivables, from plaintiff-lawyers that assist student debtors.  After GST was hauled into the amended complaint, Defendant GST turned around and counter sued Navient back. In a wild filing twist, GST alleged that Navient’s in house counsel directed Navient’s employees to call student debtors, and convince them to fire their lawyers: causing students to terminate or not pay their lawyers, which “destroyed and/or substantially reduced the value of the accounts receivable that GST had acquired…”

Navient filed a motion to dismiss GST’s claims.  The court agreed with Navient, and dismissed all GST’s counterclaims.  Let’s see how this now cut and dry conspiracy suit transpires. 

© Copyright 2020 Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLPNational Law Review, Volume X, Number 99
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About this Author

Jason M. Ingber Litigation Attorney Squire Patton Boggs Los Angeles, CA
Associate

Jason M. Ingber’s practice focuses on consumer class action defense and breach of contract litigation. Jason specializes in cases brought under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act and has handled all phases of litigation in cases involving consumer protection statutes, including the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the California Homeowner Bill of Rights.

Prior to joining the firm, Jason defended over a hundred single plaintiff consumer disputes. He has also managed pro bono matters.

While at the UCLA School of Law, Jason...

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