A couple in Oregon has filed a lawsuit against a county in the state and its sheriff over debt collection efforts made by the law enforcement official for a debt backed by state and federal agencies. The couple is seeking $10 million.
The suit, filed in U.S. District Court on March 15 by plaintiffs Bruce and Vanesse Hampton of Enterprise, Ore., claims that Wallowa County and Sheriff Fred Steen are guilty of inflicting emotional distress, intentional interference with economic relations, defamation, invasion of privacy, wrongful initiations of civil proceedings, violation of the Oregon Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act and negligence, according to local paper The Observer.
The suit claims that Steen, both as a resident of Wallowa County and in his office as sheriff, conspired with rancher Lloyd Trackwell in his efforts to collect a debt from the Hamptons and wrongfully interfered with plaintiffs’ contractual relationship between the Hamptons and the United States Department of Agriculture, the United States Natural Resource Conservation Service and the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board.
The Hamptons are seeking a jury trial.
There was no detail on what the county and sheriff were alleged to have done to become the targets of the suit.
In the current climate of focus on the ARM industry’s use of the courts to enforce legal contracts, we think this it’s pretty interesting that potentially frivolous suits like this ($10 million? Come on.) citing debt collection violations don’t get more attention from the media. Any idea why?