Where Collection Actions May Be Filed - Seventh Circuit Decision in Med-1 Case

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. §1692i (“FDCPA”), requires that legal actions to collect consumer debts be filed in the “judicial district or similar legal entity” (a) where the consumer resides when the legal action is taken, (b) where the consumer signed the contract on which the action is based, or (c) in the case of actions to enforce a security interest in real estate (such as a mortgage) where the real estate is located.

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals (covering Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin) has held that the phrase “judicial district or similar legal entity” means “the smallest geographic area that is relevant for determining venue in the court system in which the case is filed.” Suesz v. Med-1 Solutions, LLC, No. 13-1821, 2014 WL 2964771 (7th Cir. July 2, 2014) (en banc).

The case involved the Marion County, Indiana Township Small Claims Courts, and the court held that the 9 townships are each a “judicial district” for purposes of the FDCPA. Therefore, a small claims lawsuit had to filed in the township where the consumer resided when the lawsuit was filed, or where the consumer signed the contract sued on.

The court overruled a prior case allowing collection lawsuits to be filed anywhere in Cook County, Illinois, without regard to the fact that the Municipal Department of the Circuit Court of Cook County, which hears most such cases, is divided into six geographic districts.

Please contact us if you are subjected to legal action (original lawsuits, citations, garnishments) in a Cook County, Illinois, Municipal District other than the District in which you reside when the legal action is taken or signed a contract.

The First District is the City of Chicago.

The Second District includes Deerfield, Des Plaines, Evanston, Glencoe, Glenview, Golf, Kenilworth, Lincolnwood, Morton Grove, Niles, Northbrook, Northfield, Park Ridge, Skokie, Wilmette, and Winnetka.

The Third District includes Arlington Heights, Barrington, Barrington Hills, Bartlett, Bensenville, Buffalo Grove, Elgin, Elk Grove Village, Hanover Park, Harwood Heights, Hoffman Estates, Inverness, Kildeer, Mount Prospect, Norridge, Palatine, Prospect Heights, Rolling Meadows, Roselle, Rosemont, Schaumburg, Schiller Park, South Barrington, Streamwood, and Wheeling.

The Fourth District is Bellwood, Berkeley, Berwyn, Broadview, Brookfield, Cicero, Elmwood Park, Forest Park, Franklin Park, Hillside, LaGrange Park, Maywood, Melrose Park, Northlake, North Riverside, Oak Park, River Forest, River Grove, River Forest, Riverside, Stone Park, and Westchester.

The Fifth District includes Alsip, Bedford Park, Bridgeview, Burbank, Burr Ridge, Chicago Ridge, Countryside, Crestwood, Evergreen Park, Forest View, Hickory Hills, Hinsdale, Hodgkins, Hometown, Indian Head Park, Justice, LaGrange, Lemont, Lyons, Merrionette Park, Metra, McCook, Morton College, Oak Forest, Oak Lawn, Orland Hills, Orland Park, Palos Heights, Palos Hills, Palos Park, Stickney, Summit, Tinley Park, Western Springs, West Haven, Willow Springs, and Worth.

The Sixth District includes Blue Island, Burnham, Calumet City, Calumet Park, Chicago Heights, Country Club Hills, Crete, Dixmoor, Dolton, East Hazel Crest, Flossmoor, Ford Heights, Glenwood, Harvey, Hazel Crest, Homewood, Lansing, Lynwood, Markham, Matteson, Midlothian, Olympia Fields, Park Forest, Phoenix, Posen, Richton Park, Riverdale, Robbins, Sauk Village, South Chicago Heights, South Holland, Steger, and Thornton.

Also, please contact us if you are subjected to legal action (original lawsuits, proceedings supplemental) in a Marion County, Indiana Township Small Claims Court other than the one for the Township in which you reside when the legal action is taken or signed a contract. The following is a map of the Marion County Townships: