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Woman who says she is victim of identity theft sues GE Capital for 'harassing and annoying' calls

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A Kanawha County woman who said she is a victim of identity theft is suing Utah-based GE Capital Retail Bank for using harassing and annoying telephone tactics to try and collect the debt from her even after being told to speak to her lawyer.

Kristina Thomas Whiteaker of the Grubb Law Group said her client, Katherin Dallman Grubb, has been subjected to "harassing and annoying phone calls" by GE Capital and its agents trying to collect money owed on credit cards issued to someone who used her name and identifying information without her permission or knowledge.

The lawsuit, filed in Raleigh County Circuit Court, alleges the dunning calls to her home and cell phone continued even after she told the debt collectors they should contact her lawyer, D. Christopher Hedges.

It claims the debt collectors used "unreasonable or oppressive or abusive" tactics, including calling repeatedly and calling "at times known to be inconvenient with the intent to annoy, abuse or oppress" Grubb.

The suit alleges GE Capital intentionally violated the West Virginia Consumer Credit & Protection Act, has been negligent, intentionally inflicted emotional distress by continuing to call her even after being told to contact her lawyer, invaded her privacy and attempted to collect a debt from her she doesn't owe.

GE Capital, meanwhile, wants the case transferred to federal court, admitting in that petition it made more than 17 calls to Grubbs to collect $5,768 owed on the disputed account.

Even though Grubb and her attorney each stipulated that they would not seek or accept more than $75,000 to settle the suit, GE claims that factoring in the balance owed on the disputed account plus the cost to repair Grubbs' credit pushes their exposure to at least $80,000.

A case must have an "amount-in-controversy" of $75,000 or more, among other things, before a federal court can hear a case.