PAYDAY TODAY INC v. HAMILTON. Court of Appeals of Indiana

PAYDAY TODAY, INC., Edward R. Hall, Appellants-Defendants, v. Maria L. HAMILTON, Appellee-Plaintiff.

No. 71A03-0805-CV-255.


Defendants/Counterclaimants-Appellants Payday Today, Inc. (“Payday”) and Edward R. Hall (“Hall”) (collectively, “the defendants”) appeal from the test court’s grant of judgment from the pleadings while the grant of summary judgment in support of Plaintiff-Appellee Maria L. Hamilton (“Hamilton”). We affirm in part, reverse to some extent, and remand.

The defendants raise five problems for the review, which we restate because:

We. Whether or not the test court erred in giving summary judgment on Hamilton’s claim beneath the Small Claims Act.

II. Whether or not the test court erred in giving summary judgment on Hamilton’s claim beneath the Fair business collection agencies ways Act.

III. Perhaps the test court erred in giving judgment for Hamilton from the defendants’ counterclaims.

IV. Perhaps the defendants had been unfairly rejected leave to amend their counter-complaint.

V. If the test court erred in giving lawyer charges to Hamilton.


Payday is really a loan that is payday, and Hall is its lawyer. A“small loan” as defined by Ind.Code В§ 24-4.5-7-104(a) in July of 2004, Payday loaned $125.00 to Hamilton. Beneath the regards to the mortgage contract, Hamilton would be to spend $143.75, like the $125.00 principal plus an $18.75 solution fee, within fourteen days through the date regarding the loan. As protection when it comes to loan, Hamilton supplied Payday having a check that is post-dated $143.75. Whenever Hamilton’s check ended up being returned 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 attorney charges. The page claimed that payment of the quantities had been needed for Hamilton in order to avoid a lawsuit. Especially, the page claimed in pertinent component:

Re: DISHONORED CHECK TO Payday Today, Inc./South Bend

Please be encouraged that this workplace happens to be retained to represent the above lender with respect to a little loan contract No ․, dated 06/03/2004. This loan provider accepted your check as safety for the loan into the number 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 fulfill the mortgage. You have got did not make re re re re payment towards the loan provider as agreed, and upon presentation, the banking organization on which it had been drawn would not honor your check. You have got been formerly notified because of the loan provider of one’s returned check and also taken no action to eliminate the problem.

A LAWSUIT, now is the time for action IF YOU WANT TO RESOLVE THIS MATTER WITHOUT. To do this, you have to spend the next quantities, (1) the complete quantity of the check plus, (2) a $20 returned check cost, and (3) lawyer charges of $300. This re re payment must certanly be in the shape 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§ 24-4.7-5 if you fail to pay in full the amount due within ten days from the date of this letter et seq.; (1) the amount 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 times (3x) the amount of the verify that the face area number of the check had not been more than $250.00, or (7) in the event that face number of the check had been $250.00 or maybe more, 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 recommends Hamilton that she could possibly be responsible for different damages if she had been discovered to own presented her sign in a fraudulent way.

Hamilton filed a problem against Payday and Hall alleging violations for the Indiana Uniform Consumer Credit Code-Small Loans (Ind.Code § 24-4.5-7 et seq.) (“SLA”) therefore the federal Fair Debt Collection techniques Act (15 U.S.C. § 1692) (“FDCPA”). In Count We associated with problem, Hamilton alleged that Payday violated the SLA whenever

a. Hall threatened ․ to file case against Hamilton that will demand damages in overabundance what the defendants are allowed to recoup under I.C. 24-4.5-7-202, therefore breaking I.C. 24-4.5-7-410(b), and Payday caused this hazard to be produced, therefore breaking I.C. 24-4.5-7-410(b).

b. Hall made misleading and misleading statements to Hamilton ․ concerning the quantity the defendants could recover for a tiny loan, therefore breaking I.C. 24-4.5-7-410(c), and Payday caused these statements to be manufactured, therefore breaking I.C. 24-4.5-7-410(c).

c. Hall represented in their letter that Hamilton, being a debtor of a little loan, is likely for lawyer costs compensated by the loan provider relating to the assortment of the little loan, thus breaking I.C. 24-4.5-7-410(d), and Payday caused these representations to be produced, thus 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§ 24-4.5-7-409( 4)( ag ag ag e) that Payday had no right to get, get, or retain any principal, interest, or other fees through the loan. She additionally asked for statutory damages of $2000 and expenses and damages pursuant to Ind.Code В§ 24-4.5-7-409(4)(e). She further asked for statutory damages of $500 pursuant to Ind.Code В§ 24-4.5-7-409(4)(c) and Ind.Code В§ 24-5-0.5-4. Finally, she asked for statutory damages of $1000 pursuant to 15 U.S.C. В§ 1692k(a) and “such other and further relief as the court deems simply and equitable.” Id.

Payday and Hall reacted by filing a remedy and three counterclaims against Hamilton for (1) defrauding a lender under Ind.Code В§ 35-43-5-8, (2) moving a negative check under Ind.Code В§ 26-2-7-6, and (3) breach of the agreement.