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PostPosted: Thu Oct 19, 2006 1:21 am 
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Household Credit Services, Inc. v. Driscol
989 S.W.2d 72
Tex.App.-El Paso,1998.
December 30, 1998

Debtor and her husband brought action against creditor and collection agency, alleging multiple causes of action including unreasonable debt collection, negligence, gross negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress, invasion of privacy, and violations of Texas Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The 34th District Court, El Paso County, William E. Moody, J., entered jury verdict in favor of plaintiffs and awarded both compensatory and exemplary damages. Creditor appealed. The Court of Appeals, Barajas, C.J., held that: (1) debtor could recover on only one theory of recovery, under one satisfaction rule; (2) judgment on unreasonable debt collection cause of action represented impermissible multiple recovery; (3) evidence supported finding that creditor violated debtor's privacy; (4) debt collection agency was agent of creditor; (5) debtor, but nor her husband, was entitled to mental anguish damages; and (6) debtor was entitled to $1 million in exemplary damages.
Affirmed in part, modified in part, and reversed and rendered in part.


This is an appeal from a jury verdict in favor of plaintiff/Appellees Albert and Marianne*78 Driscol in the amount of approximately $11.7 million against Allied Adjustment Bureau and defendant/Appellant Household Credit Services, Inc. The Driscols' lawsuit was based on the defendants' attempts to collect an undisputed debt owed by Marianne Driscol. Although Allied did not appear at trial and is now defunct, the jury awarded both compensatory and exemplary damages against both defendants. We affirm in part, modify in part, and reverse and render in part.


Appellee Marianne Driscol had a VISA card account with Appellant, Household Credit. After losing her job in Massachusetts, Ms. Driscol and her husband, Appellee Albert Driscol, moved to El Paso. Though Ms. Driscol found a job at People Lease, Inc. in El Paso, Mr. Driscol did not find work and money remained tight. Ms. Driscol began to fall behind on the payments on her approximately $2,700 VISA card balance. In about May 1991, Household's internal collections personnel started placing telephone calls to Ms. Driscol in an effort to collect on the account. The parties disagree sharply on the nature, quantity, and timing of Household's collection calls that continued until January 28, 1992, when Household turned Ms. Driscol's account over to Allied Adjustment Bureau, a collection agency, for further collection efforts.
Ms. Driscol testified that Household began calling her at work and home. Despite several telephone conversations and one certified letter requesting that Household stop calling her workplace, the calls to Ms. Driscol at People Lease continued. Calls to the Driscol home came in at a rate of four or five times per day, sometimes at 6:30 on weekend mornings and after 11 on weekday evenings. These odd-hour calls also continued despite Ms. Driscol's requests that they stop. The language Household used during the calls was “horrible,â€

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