enclosing payments along with claims, but plaintiff questioned defendant's right to make such requests and continued to issue confusing letters.
Plaintiff does not claim that the technical discrepancies he uncovered were prompted by a good faith belief that he had not incurred the charges in question. Rather, he asserts that TILA requires creditors to respond to billing inquiries within a specified time and in a specified way and authorizes actual and/or statutory damages against a creditor who fails to do so, regardless of the bona fides of the inquiry. When pressed in deposition for a justification for his continual complaints, plaintiff said only that if he did not question the validity of the charge within the time period set by TILA he might ultimately become responsible for a double billing. (EBT at 295)
A party is entitled to summary judgment when there is no "genuine issue of material fact" and the undisputed facts warrant judgment for the moving party as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c); Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986). In addressing a motion for summary judgment, "the court must view the evidence in the light most favorable to the party against whom summary judgment is sought and must draw all reasonable inferences in [its] favor." Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587, 106 S.Ct. 1348, 89 L.Ed.2d 538 (1986). Whether any disputed issue of fact exists is for the Court to determine. Balderman v. United States Veterans Admin., 870 F.2d 57, 60 (2d Cir. 1989). The moving party has the initial burden of demonstrating the absence of a disputed issue of material fact. Celotex v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986). Once such a showing has been made, the non-moving party must present "specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e). The party opposing summary judgment "may not rely on conclusory allegations or unsubstantiated speculation." Scotto v. Almenas, 143 F.3d 105, 114 (2d Cir. 1998). Moreover, not every disputed factual issue is material in light of the substantive law that governs the case. "Only disputes over facts that might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law will properly preclude summary judgment." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248, 106 S.Ct. 2505.
The Truth in Lending Act (TILA)
The Truth in Lending Act, originally enacted in 1968, was the first federal consumer protection law. It is a remedial statute and as such it is intended to be construed liberally in favor of the consumer. TILA is designed to promote the provision of accurate and understandable information concerning credit agreements signed by members of the public. Congress also sought to force creditors to be more responsive to their customers, both by displaying relevant information clearly and by ensuring that they would respond promptly to complaints regarding billing errors.
It was for this reason that Congress enacted § 1666, which clearly sets out the required procedure to be followed if the obligor wishes to query his bill. Under this section the obligor is required to:
(1) set out details of his name and account;
(2) indicate his belief that the statement contains a
billing error and the amount of the alleged billing
(3) set out his reasons for believing that there has
been a billing error.
Having received such an inquiry, the law requires the creditor to: