Saturday, February 18, 2012

Suit: Bill Collector For 'America's Stagecoach To Hell' Falsely Reports Suicide Threat By 85-Year Old Debtor; Leads To 'Forced Trip' To Emergency Room

In Lane County, Oregon, ABC News reports:

  • When Anne Sessions, 85, of Lane County, Ore., fell behind in her credit card payments, she said an aggressive debt collector harassed her to the point of calling the police with a phony claim she threatened to commit suicide, costing her $1,055 in medical bills. Now she is suing for $250,000 over the incident, which led to an involuntary hospital visit.

  • Sessions fell behind on her credit card payments in 2010 after unanticipated financial setbacks, potentially facing foreclosure. As she survived on a fixed income from Social Security and a "very modest" pension, she was strapped.

  • Wells Fargo began calling Sessions "numerous times" and threatened legal action if she did not make payments, the suit said. [...] Sessions says she worked out a payment plan with Wells Fargo, and the calls had stopped until February 2011, when a Wells Fargo employee called her on a Sunday.


  • Within 30 minutes of the call, Sessions said three police officers arrived at her home and told her that the employee had called 911 and reported she had made "multiple suicide threats" during the collection call, requesting police be sent to her home.

  • The police then "forcibly" took her to the local hospital emergency room, "over her objections," then told the hospital personnel that she was suicidal. She was held at the hospital for "several hours," and seen by a doctor and the hospital's crisis staff. She was released after they reported they felt "strongly" she was not a threat to herself or others, the suit states.

  • One week later, she received a bill from the hospital for $712, and a few days later $343 for physician charges. Without medical or other insurance, she now owed $1,055 for the unnecessary hospital visit, in addition to her credit card debt.

  • When she called Wells Fargo to complain, she asked to speak to the same employee and his co-worker told her he was not there. When Sessions told the co-worker about the 911 call, "the employee laughed loudly and plaintiff could hear her calling out something like 'Hey Chuck ... that woman you called the police on got taken to the hospital by the police,'" according to the suit.

  • Sessions said she heard "loud laughter in the collections center and the female employee proceeded to congratulate defendant Gajewski on how effective his call had been in a way that [Sessions] was certain to hear."

  • She said the incident caused her extreme anxiety, embarrassment, depression, feelings of worthlessness, and loss of sleep, among other effects, causing non-economic damages in the amount of $250,000.

For more, see Debt Collector Allegedly Makes Bogus 911 Suicide Call on Elderly Oregon Woman.

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