Michelle Keahey, East Texas Bureau Nov. 12, 2012, 12:55pm

SHERMAN - A debt collector is being sued for violating federal and Texas laws by failing to provide a woman with written validation of an alleged debt and for threatening to file a lawsuit against her.

Melissa Stephens filed suit against Internal Credit Systems Inc. on Nov. 8 in the Eastern District of Texas, Sherman Division.

The defendant allegedly began contacting Stephens in September in an attempt to collect a debt owed to Ultimate Family Fitness. During the initial conversation, a representative for the defendant, threatened Stephens that if she did not satisfy the debt immediately, Internal Credit Systems would file a lawsuit against her.

“Defendant then condescendingly told Plaintiff that she was a 'deadbeat' and would be going to court for this matter,” the lawsuit states.

Stephens repeatedly requested written validation of the debt and was told that they would not send her anything in the mail until Stephens satisfied the debt.

During a subsequent conversation in October, the defendant allegedly told Stephens that it was “representing an attorney.”

The defendant is accused of violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the Texas Debt Collection Act.

The plaintiff is seeking an award of actual damages for humiliation, anger, anxiety, emotional distress, fear, frustration and embarrassment, statutory damages, court costs, attorney’s fees, and punitive damages.

Stephens is represented by Jody B. Burton of Lemberg & Associates in Stamford, Conn.  A jury trial is requested.

Case No. 4:12-cv-00704

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