ST. LOUIS (Legal Newsline) - The Missouri Supreme Court says it will not hear a case against a Virginia-based debt collection company.

According to its Dec. 6 minutes, the Court denied Attorney General Chris Koster's application to transfer his case against Portfolio Recovery Associates Inc. from the Missouri Court of Appeals to the state's high court.

In April, the appeals court upheld the City of St. Louis Circuit Court's June 2010 decision to dismiss the lawsuit against PRA's subsidary, Portfolio Recovery Associates LLC.

Koster filed the suit against PRA in August 2009, alleging that both the company and its subsidiary violated the state's Merchandising Practices Act by engaging in unfair debt collection practices.

In particular, the attorney general alleged Norfolk-based PRA bought old and bankruptcy-discharged debt, often from another bad debt buyer, and then tried to collect, sometimes through court action.

At the time, Koster said the company also attempted to collect on accounts that were already paid or had been discharged in bankruptcy, and that sometimes it tried to collect from the wrong consumer or for the wrong amounts.

In addition, the attorney general alleged PRA threatened to garnish consumers' social security checks and refused to provide consumers with proof that their debt was valid.

PRA describes itself as a publicly traded company that "buys debt" that is owed to banks and other creditors.

According to its website, the company has been named to Forbes' list of Best Small Companies from 2007 to 2011, Fortune's list of America's Top Small Businesses in 2006 and 2007, and BusinesWeek's 100 Hot Growth Companies in 2003, 2004 and 2007.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at jessica@legalnewsline.com.

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