(CN) – Capital One does not have to face a civil suit related to the FBI’s arrest of a man who threatened to blow up the credit card company’s offices, but it may be liable for improperly trying to collect an unpaid debt, a federal judge ruled.
Larry Borneisen and and his wife, Sherry, sued Capital One Financial dba Capital One Bank on nine counts after Larry was charged with threatening to blow up the Capital One call center in Virginia. Federal prosecutors ultimately dropped the charges.
The Borneisens claimed Capital One called them regarding debts on their various accounts, and told the couple it would call “as many times per day as wanted” until it got its money.
After that call, Larry called Capital One customer service and reached Alexandria Wilson, whom he called a “dumb bitch,” the ruling states.
A transcript is not available since Capital One did not record the call, so the court adopted the following summary from Wilson and Larry’s personal recollections.
Wilson, who admits she does not remember the call verbatim, said Larry refused to pay his debt, and threatened to blow up the Capital One call center and shoot everyone there.
Capital One filed a report with the police to make a report, which led an FBI SWAT team to descend on the Borneisens’ home and take Larry into custody though the bank never called for his arrest.
Larry sued Capital One for trespass, invasion of privacy, emotional distress, assault, battery, false imprisonment, malicious prosecution, abuse of process and violations of the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act.
Capital One filed a motion to dismiss all counts.
After agreeing to toss the eight counts related to Borneisen’s arrest, U.S. District Judge Elizabeth Kovachevich declined to throw out the debt-collection claim.
“Capital One admits to a factual discrepancy as to the number of calls made to Mr. Borneisen’s cell phone alone,” Kovachevich wrote. “While Mr. Borneisen maintains that Capital One called him 175 times in a four-month period, Capital One alleges that only 83 calls were made to Mr. Borneisen. Capital One alleges that the other 92 calls were made to Mrs. Borneisen and not to Mr. Borneisen.”
Kovachevich noted that frequent calls “may be considered harassing when they continue after all such information has been elicited and reasonable efforts at persuasion and negations have failed.”
She dismissed all the other counts because Capital One did not ask for Larry to be arrested, nor was it actually present at the arrest to commit any of the allegations.