LVNV Funding, LLC v. DeAngelo

The defendant defaulted on an automobile loan and the plaintiff held the note. The plaintiff filed this debt-collection action after the four-year statute of limitations set forth in the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act lapsed. By the defendant did not respond to the complaint. The plaintiff was thus granted default judgment on the claim. Eight years later, the defendant sought to vacate the default judgment and dismiss the complaint.

The trial court and the Appellate Division noted that the case presented challenging equities to balance, as not party came to the litigation with clean hands. Nonetheless, Rule 5:50-1(f) required the courts were required to reach the result that achieved equity and justice. In attempting to live up to that command, the trial court determined the public policy weighed in favor of discouraging unlawful debt collection practices and ruled in favor of the defendant-debtor. The Appellate Division affirmed, finding that the trial court’s ruling was not an abuse of discretion.