Mark and Sara Neill on Tuesday dropped the lawsuit they filed against Minnesota-based Bullseye Collection Agency in November after receiving letters to recover an $88 debt.
The couple claimed Bullseye harassed and oppressed them by using the phrase that typically stands for “What Would Jesus Do” in their correspondence. They argued that the acronym condemned debtors as sinners and thus violated the federal Debt Collection Practices Act, which prohibits abusive or harassing collection tactics.
After learning that Mark Neill is president of the Bureau of Collection Recovery, a large competitor, attorneys from Liberty Counsel, which represented Bullseye, filed counterclaims arguing that the Neills were suing to silence a rival business.
Both sides agreed to dismiss the lawsuit with prejudice, which means the couple cannot file the complaint again. Bullseye will continue using WWJD in its correspondence.
“It’s business as usual for Bullseye,” said Horatio Mihet, senior litigation counsel for Liberty Counsel. “Their rights to express themselves remain in tact.”
Mihet said lawsuits against Christian businesses that display religious symbols have increased in recent years, and he expects to see more cases like this in the future.
“For all the tolerance that is preached, we’ve become intolerant toward those that have opposing viewpoints,” he said, “and I think this is an extension of that.”