|FCRA||Federal Rules of Civil Procedure||fraud|
|FDCPA||Federal Rules of Evidence|
|Fair Credit Reporting Act||file|
|Fair Debt Collection Practices Act||filing fee|
|false affidavit||finder of fact|
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 companies seeking to collect on debts owed to them, provided they pursue those debts in their own names. A copy of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act is included in the Supplemental materials of this handbook.
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, and the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure have also served as a model for most state rules, so I refer to them sometimes as examples. They will be like the state rules, but the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure do not directly apply in state courts.
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.
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.
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.