In his lawsuit against Holiday Inn Club Vacations (HICV) and Experian, timeshare owner Daryl Barkley, represented by attorneys Sean McEleney of Swift, Isringhaus & Dubbeld PA and Michael Finn and Andrew Meyer of Finn Law Group, PA, claims that HICV violated the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act, Florida Statute § 559.72(9) (“FCCPA”) and that both HICV and Experian violated the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1681s-2(b) (“FCRA”).
Mr. Barkley asks the Court to award statutory damages, actual damages, compensatory damages, punitive damages, and attorney fees against HICV and Experian, and to enjoin HICV from engaging in further conduct in violation of the FCCPA and FCRA.
The case is at issue.
Timeshare owner Daryl Barkley alleges that HICV improperly attempted to collect a debt against her that it knew was illegitimate in violation of the FCCPA and FCRA. First, she alleges that HICV breached its timeshare contract with her by failing to timely record the deed to an HICV timeshare that was the subject of the alleged debt, rendering the timeshare contract voidable, and that she properly rescinded the timeshare contract via February 9, 2017 [ECF 1-2] and March 10, 2017 [ECF 1-3] letters from her counsel, Mike Flynn, and thus owed no further payments after that date. Second, Ms. Barkley alleged that she defaulted on the timeshare contract by stopping payments before the deed was recorded, so the obligations under the contract ended and HICV’s remedy was limited to liquidated damages of the money that Ms. Barkley had already paid HICV. She alleges that, notwithstanding the timeshare owners’ notices of rescission, HICV improperly recorded the deed in Nevada in her name.
Ms. Barkley alleges that Experian violated the FCRA by inaccurately reporting the disputed debt, even after Ms. Barkley advised the credit reporting agency of the debt’s illegitimacy.
The timeshare owner alleges that notwithstanding his counsel’s letter to HICV advising of the illegitimacy of any debt, HICV sent over fifty written communications to his counsel demanding payment on the debt. She alleges that in addition to consequential damages, she suffered actual damages, inter alia, in the form of damage to her credit reputation, higher credit costs.
In their respective answers, HICV and Experian deny liability, on the basis, inter alia, that the collection and debt reporting activities were directed at a debt that was not illegitimate.
8/4/20 – ORDER DENYING HICV’S MOTION TO DISMISS 
HICV moved unsuccessfully to dismiss the timeshare owner’s case at the pleading stage, arguing that the attorney letters merely put HICV on notice of Ms. Barkley’s intent to rescind the contract, and that the letter’s statements disputing the debt did not “equate to actual knowledge that the debt is illegitimate or that HICV asserted a legal right that it actually knew did not exist”
Judge Dalton disagreed, ruling that at the pleadings stage, it was sufficient that the timeshare alleged that HICV knew the debt was disputed, and that whether the debt was in fact illegitimate “is an issue for another day.”
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Plaintiff: DARYL J. BARKLEY
Plaintiff’s counsel: Swift, Isringhaus & Dubbeld, PA, Finn Law Group, PA, and J. Andrew Meyer, PA
HOLIDAY INN CLUB VACATIONS, INC.
Counsel: Bitman, O’Brien & Morat, PLLC
EXPERIAN INFORMATION SERVICES, INC.
Counsel: Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP