When a debt collector sues a debtor, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) requires the debt collector to file the suit in the same "judicial district" in which the debtor resides or where the contract giving rise to the suit was signed. This applies to state law actions filed in state courts. Normally this restriction is not an issue because state venue rules generally require a defendant to be sued in the county in which the defendant lives. And normally the courts in one county will not be construed as being more than one judicial district. However, the Seventh Circuit, sitting en banc, held that the municipal department districts in Cook County, Illinois and the township small claims courts in Marion County, Indiana constitute separate judicial districts within their respective counties for the purposes of the FDCPA venue rule. This venue rule, as interpreted by the Seventh Circuit goes against the commonly understood meaning of "judicial district" as it has been used by Congress. Further, this interpretation of the Act functionally operates to impose federal venue rules on state law actions in state courts--where venue rules are generally left to state discretion.
College of Law
Northern Illinois University Law Review
"Suesz V. Med-1 Solutions, LLC: Definition of a Judicial District in the Venue Requirement of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act,"
Northern Illinois University Law Review: Vol. 36:
2, Article 4.
Daniel Mark, Note, Suesz V. Med-1 Solutions, LLC: Definition of a Judicial District in the Venue Requirement of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 36 N. Ill. U. L. Rev. 83 (2016).