- Case Summary

University / Undergraduate
Modified: 11th Jun 2001
Wordcount: 613 words


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Legal Case Summary

Summary: Dispute clarifying the legal meaning of 'employee' under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).


Cedric Kushner Promotions, Ltd., brought a lawsuit against Don King. King is a celebrated boxing promoter, engaged in the practice of managing boxing events and agreeing to pay fighters for their participation in these said events. A conflict arose between the two parties as King, in his capacity as president and sole shareholder of Don King Productions, was alleged to have committed fraudulent activities detrimental to Kushner.

There was an issue with King collecting debts in a way that was found to be in violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). This was because King was acting as a debt collector with his business practices, and the procedures he was using conflicted with the FDCPA. The FDCPA was implemented to eliminate abusive practices in the collection of consumer debts, promoting fair debt collection, and providing consumers with an avenue for dispute and validating information.


The core issue was determining if King, as an individual officer/shareholder of a corporation, counted as a 'person' under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). The Supreme Court had to assess whether the federal law, which prohibits 'any person' from engaging in certain practices while collecting a debt, applied to an officer of a corporation who personally commits such a breach.



The Kushner v. King significantly helped to clarify the definition of 'person' under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, suggesting that corporate individuals who engage in prohibited practices may be identified as 'persons' and held liable independently. Consequently, it offered significant protection to consumers by allowing them to take legal actions not only against the corporations but also against corporate officers who committed violations. Its impact on case law is seen in subsequent rulings where corporate officers were held accountable for their personal actions alongside their corporations.


The Supreme Court ruled in favor of Cedric Kushner Promotions, Ltd., holding that under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, an officer of a corporation, who commits a violation, may be held personally liable. They argued that the Act covers officers even when they are acting in an official capacity. This means that officers can't hide behind the corporation to commit violations.


  • 533 U.S. 158 (2001)
  • Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (15 U.S.C. ยงยง 1692-1692p)

Journalist Brief

This case was about a boxing promoter named Don King who was taken to court by another promotion company. They accused King of violating federal law by using sketchy methods to collect money. The main question was if King could be taken to court as an individual for his actions, even though he was the president of his own company. The Supreme Court of America said yes, he could be taken to task personally, setting an important precedent for future cases.


What was the legal question in Kushner v. King?

Answer: The legal question was whether a corporate officer could be held personally liable under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act for their individual actions.

What was the Supreme Court's ruling?

Answer: The Supreme Court ruled that a corporate officer can be held personally liable for their individual violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

What impact did this case have on case law?

Answer: It clarified that the 'person' under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act can include corporate individuals allowing consumers to take legal actions against corporate officers directly.

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