PAYDAY TODAY, INC., Edward R. Hall, Appellants-Defendants, v. Maria L. HAMILTON, Appellee-Plaintiff.
STATEMENT OF CASE
Defendants/Counterclaimants-Appellants Payday Today, Inc. (вЂњPaydayвЂќ) and Edward R. Hall (вЂњHallвЂќ) (collectively, вЂњthe defendantsвЂќ) appeal from the test court’s grant of judgment in the pleadings in addition to grant of summary judgment in support of Plaintiff-Appellee Maria L. Hamilton (вЂњHamiltonвЂќ). We affirm in part, reverse in component, and remand.
The defendants raise five problems for the review, which we restate because:
We. If the test court erred in giving summary judgment on Hamilton’s claim underneath the Small Claims Act.
II. Perhaps the test court erred in giving summary judgment on Hamilton’s claim underneath the Fair commercial collection agency methods Act.
III. If the test court erred in giving judgment for Hamilton regarding the defendants’ counterclaims.
IV. If the defendants had been unfairly rejected leave to amend their counter-complaint.
V. Whether or not the test court erred in giving lawyer costs to Hamilton.
FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Payday is just a loan that is payday, and Hall is its lawyer. AвЂњsmall loanвЂќ as defined by Ind.Code В§ ۲۴-۴٫۵-۷-۱۰۴(a) in July of 2004, Payday loaned $125.00 to Hamilton. Underneath the regards to the mortgage contract, Hamilton would be to spend $143.75, like the $125.00 principal as well as an $18.75 solution Visit Your URL fee, inside a fortnight through the date regarding the loan. As protection for the loan, Hamilton offered Payday with a check that is post-dated $143.75. Whenever Hamilton’s check had been gone back to Payday, Hall mailed her a page demanding the quantity of the check, along with a $20.00 returned check cost and $300.00 in lawyer charges. The page claimed that payment of those quantities ended up being needed for Hamilton in order to avoid a lawsuit. Particularly, the page reported in pertinent component:
Re: DISHONORED CHECK TO Payday Today, Inc./South Bend
Please be encouraged that this workplace is retained to represent the lender that is above respect to a little loan contract No вЂ¤, dated 06/03/2004. This loan provider accepted your check as safety for a financial loan within the quantity of ($143.75). The contract called for the check to be cashed pursuant towards the regards to the mortgage contract, in the event that you hadn’t formerly made plans to meet the mortgage. You have got neglected to make re re re re re payment into the loan provider as agreed, and upon presentation, the banking organization by which it absolutely was drawn failed to honor your check. You’ve been formerly notified by the loan provider of one’s returned check and possess taken no action to solve the problem.
A LAWSUIT, now is the time for action IF YOU WANT TO RESOLVE THIS MATTER WITHOUT. To take action, you have to spend the next quantities, (1) the complete quantity of the check plus, (2) a $20 returned check charge, and (3) lawyer costs of $300. This re re re payment needs to be by means of a cashier’s money or check purchase payable to Attorney Edward R. Hall. We may file suit immediately, in which you may be liable for the following amount under I.C. В§ ۲۴-۴٫۷-۵ if you fail to pay in full the amount due within ten days from the date of this letter et seq.; (1) the quantity of the check; (2) a twenty buck returned check cost; (3) court expenses; (4) reasonable lawyer costs; (5) all the reasonable expenses of collection; (6) 3 x (3x) the total amount of the verify that the facial skin level of the check had not been more than $250.00, or (7) in the event that face level of the check ended up being $250.00 or higher, the check quantity plus five hundred bucks ($500.00), and pre-judgment interest at the price of 18per cent per year.
(Appellants’ App. 1 at 13; Appellant’s App. 2 at 17). (Emphasis in initial). Hall’s page further suggests Hamilton if she was found to have presented her check in a fraudulent manner that she could be liable for various damages.
Hamilton filed a grievance against Payday and Hall alleging violations associated with Indiana Uniform customer Credit Code-Small Loans (Ind.Code В§ ۲۴-۴٫۵-۷ et seq.) (вЂњSLAвЂќ) in addition to Fair that is federal Debt methods Act (15 U.S.C. В§ ۱۶۹۲) (вЂњFDCPAвЂќ). In Count I associated with the problem, Hamilton alleged that Payday violated the SLA whenever
a. Hall threatened вЂ¤ to file case against Hamilton that will demand damages in overabundance what the defendants are allowed to recuperate under I.C. 24-4.5-7-202, therefore breaking I.C. 24-4.5-7-410(b), and Payday caused this risk to be manufactured, thus breaking I.C. 24-4.5-7-410(b).
b. Hall made misleading and misleading statements to Hamilton вЂ¤ concerning the quantity the defendants could recover for a little loan, thus breaking I.C. 24-4.5-7-410(c), and Payday caused these statements to be produced, thus breaking I.C. 24-4.5-7-410(c).
c. Hall represented in their letter that Hamilton, as a debtor of a little loan, is likely for attorney charges compensated by the loan provider associated with the assortment of the tiny loan, therefore breaking I.C. 24-4.5-7-410(d), and Payday caused these representations to be manufactured, therefore breaking I.C. 24-4.5-7-410(d).
d. Hall made deceptive and fraudulent representations in their page regarding the quantity a loan provider is eligible to recover for a tiny loan, thus breaking I.C. 24-4.5-7-410(g), and Payday caused these representations to be produced, thus breaking I.C. 24-4.5-7-410(g).
(Appellant’s Appendix 2 at 100-01). Hamilton alleged in Count II that Hall violated the FDCPA. Id. at 101. She asked for declaratory judgment pursuant to Ind.Code В§ ۲۴-۴٫۵-۷-۴۰۹( ۴)( ag ag ag e) that Payday had no right to gather, get, or retain any principal, interest, or any other costs through the loan. She additionally asked for statutory damages of $2000 and expenses and damages pursuant to Ind.Code В§ ۲۴-۴٫۵-۷-۴۰۹(۴)(e). She further asked for statutory damages of $500 pursuant to Ind.Code В§ ۲۴-۴٫۵-۷-۴۰۹(۴)(c) and Ind.Code В§ ۲۴-۵-۰٫۵-۴٫ Finally, she asked for statutory damages of $1000 pursuant to 15 U.S.C. В§ ۱۶۹۲k(a) and вЂњsuch other and further relief as the court deems simply and equitable.вЂќ Id.
Payday and Hall reacted by filing a remedy and three counterclaims against Hamilton for (1) defrauding an institution that is financial Ind.Code В§ ۳۵-۴۳-۵-۸, (۲) moving a poor check under Ind.Code В§ ۲۶-۲-۷-۶, and (3) breach of the agreement.