FCRA: See Fair Credit Reporting Act.
FDCPA: See Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
Fact Finder: See, finder of fact.
Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA): The federal law that regulates the giving of information to the credit reporting agencies and provides you certain rights regarding billing and correction of billing errors. There are also some advantages to disputing negative credit references in the context of debt litigation.
Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA): The federal law that prohibits certain of the worst practices and tactics of the debt collectors. It typically does apply to lawyers who do a substantial amount of debt collection for their clients, but it does not apply to original creditors seeking to collect on debts owed to them, provided they pursue those debts in their own names. Recent Supreme Court cases have made it harder to establish that junk debt buyers are debt collectors, but in many cases they are.
False affidavit: An affidavit that includes lies or misstatements, see “deceptive affidavit.” A debt collector filing a false or deceptive affidavit is probably violating the FDCPA, making a counterclaim possible.
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure: The general rules that control the conduct of civil cases filed in federal court. Not many, if any, debt cases are brought in federal court, but you could bring a claim under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act in federal court if you desired.
The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure have also served as a model for most state rules, so every state rule is likely to look like one of the federal rules, but the rules controlling state courts are their own state rules of civil procedure.
Federal Rules of Evidence: The general rules that control the introduction of evidence in trials of cases filed in federal court. Not many, if any, debt cases are brought in federal court, but you could bring a claim under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act in federal court if you desired. The Federal Rules of Evidence have also frequently served as a model for most state rules, and they are sometimes simply adopted, so I refer to them sometimes as examples. They will be like the state rules, but the Federal Rules of Evidence do not directly apply in state courts trials.
Fees: The money various courts charge for using them. Typically there is a “filing fee” for every case. Some jurisdictions require a filing fee for counterclaims (e.g., some jurisdictions in Illinois), and some jurisdictions require a filing fee for motions (e.g., some jurisdictions in New York). Whatever the fees may be, if you cannot afford to pay them, you can apply for “in forma pauperis” status, meaning that you don’t have enough money to pay. If the court agrees with you, it will waive the fees.
File: This is a little more than merely giving something to a court, although that is probably the closest definition. You “file” a suit when you give the court a copy of a Petition, some additional information, and a filing fee. You “file” pleadings or other documents with the court when you give them to the clerk and, if the court’s permission is required, obtain that permission.
Filing fee: A fee a plaintiff gives the court to start a lawsuit.
Finder of fact: The entity that gets to decide who is telling the truth as to contested facts. In a judge-tried case, this is obviously the judge. In a jury trial, if there is enough evidence to place an issue in legitimate dispute, the jury decides the facts. On appeal, it is extremely difficult to overturn a decision based on the fact finder’s belief that certain facts are true. Most appeals are granted based on a misapplication of the law.
Fraud: As a legal term, fraud is more than merely lying, and if you wish to accuse someone of fraud, you should look up the law regarding fraud in your State Law Digest. A typical law library has a digest for the state laws of every state, and these are usually collections of perhaps fifty books each. Look in the index for fraud. As a legal claim, “fraud” has technical elements that have to be in the complaint, but it means pretty much what you would expect, as in a deception or trick that is knowing, intentional, and that harms you.
The FDCPA does not require fraud for there to be deception.