Payne sued Progressive Financial for violations of fair debt collection statutes, seeking statutory damages, actual damages, attorneys fees, and costs. Payne v. Progressive Financial Services, No. 13-10381 (April 7, 2014). Progressive made a Rule 68 offer of $1,001 in damages and fees to the date of the offer, to which Payne did not respond. The district court reasoned that Payne had not pleaded a basis to recover actual damages, and that the unaccepted offer mooted her claim for statutory damages because it exceeded the amount she could recover. The Fifth Circuit reversed, finding that the district court’s analysis of the actual damages claim conflated jurisdiction with resolution of the merits; accordingly, Progressive’s offer was incomplete because it did not address actual damages. A footnote reminds that a complete Rule 68 offer can moot a case, and that the Court did not reach the argument that the offer was incomplete because it did not include post-offer fees and costs.
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