Last December, a NY collection agency left a voice message on a relative’s answering machine about an old debt of mine. The debt is time-barred, and the msg implied that they were going to take immediate legal action. I contacted them and told them that this was an old debt, and they have not contacted me again. I also notified them twice in writing that I may take actual legal action against them for their violations of collection laws. I need an atty to review the docs and audio I have; I would like to file suit *INCLUDING* negligent infliction of emotional distress.
The California Supreme Court has allowed plaintiffs to bring negligent infliction of emotional distress actions as “direct victims” in only three types of factual situations: (1) the negligent mishandling of corpses; (2) the negligent misdiagnosis of a disease that could potentially harm another; and (3) the negligent breach of a duty arising out of a preexisting relationship. Your proposed action against a NY collection agency for NEID does not appear viable. I cannot imagine any attorney would want to pursue your case on a contingency basis (I assume you’re either unwilling or not able to pay reasonable attorney fees) under the facts you have alleged. Good luck.
The collection agency is in violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and likely the California Rosenthal Act. You need to file a lawsuit within 1 year from the date of the violation (December). Avvo has many experienced attorneys for you to select from.
You should also be aware that there is a statutory limit on damages in a case like this of $1,000 (plus atty fees.) So unless they have done seriously nasty things in your corn flakes it's likely not worth the trouble.
However, as Keren opined, it appears that you do have a case.
I concur with my colleagues about the NIED claims. Based on the limited info you provide, It appears you may have an actionable FDCPA/Rosenthal claim, however. As both the FDCPA and Rosenthal carry a 1 year statute of limitations, you should contact a consumer advocate soon. A great place for you to start would be www.naca.net. Many consumer protection firms, like ours, can represent aggrieved consumers free of charge as the FDCPA and Rosenthal carry a fee-shifting provision.