Debt collectors contacting third parties to locate debtors must prove in Fair Debt Collection Practices Act cases that contact was made solely to find the debtor’s whereabouts, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has ruled in an apparent case of first impression.

The Third Circuit upheld a district court jury verdict in favor of plaintiff Patricia Evankavitch, who maintained that debt collector Green Tree Servicing repeatedly called family members and neighbors to solicit a return call from Evankavitch. Evankavitch, who defaulted on a roughly $43,000 mortgage, was awarded $1,000 by a jury in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania.

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