The opinion of the court was delivered by: Skretny, District Judge.
Now before this Court are the motions of the plaintiff
Darlene Donahue ("plaintiff") for a default judgment, pursuant
to Fed. R.Civ.P. 55(b) in each of the above-captioned cases.
The defendants in each case, NFS Inc. d/b/a/National Financial
Services ("NFS") (CIV-90-1185S) and N. Frank Lanocha, Esq.
("Lanocha") (CIV-91-51S) (collectively the "defendants") having
failed to file an Answer or otherwise move for dismissal of the
Complaint, failed to appear in these actions and, similarly, do
not respond to the plaintiff's motions.
Because both lawsuits involve the same plaintiff, similar
claims and, more importantly, conduct by both defendants which
plaintiff alleges caused her physical and emotional damages,
this Court, sua sponte, will address both cases in this single
In each case, the plaintiff alleges that the defendants
violated various provisions of the Fair Debt Collection
Practices Act ("FDCPA"), 15 U.S.C. § 1692 et seq. According to
the Complaints, the alleged violations stem from three debt
collection notices ("the Notices") mailed by the defendants —
one by NFS and two by Lanocha — to the plaintiff which demand
payment of a single debt of $18.94 allegedly owed by the
plaintiff to American Family Publisher. (CIV-90-1185S,
Plaintiff's Affidavit, exh. A).
In her Complaints and via her motions, the plaintiff seeks
actual and additional damages and attorneys' fees and costs,
all pursuant to the FDCPA. This Court has jurisdiction of these
lawsuits pursuant to 15 U.S.C. § 1692k(d).
In support of her motion in CIV-90-1185S, the plaintiff has
filed her affidavit, a legal memorandum, and the affidavits of
plaintiff's counsel Ruth Wiseman, Esq. In support of her motion
in CIV-91-51S, the plaintiff has filed an affidavit of
plaintiff's counsel, also Ruth Wiseman, Esq. Additionally, on
October 17, 1991, this Court held a hearing with respect to the
issue of plaintiff's actual damages stemming from her receipt
of the Notices.
Conclusion: For the reasons set forth below, this Court
grants the plaintiff's motions for default judgment in
CIV-90-1185S and CIV-91-51S and awards actual and additional
damages, attorneys' fees and costs in each case, as provided
On March 18, 1991, the plaintiff, having received no response
from NFS, filed a motion for an entry of default with the Clerk
of the Court. On March 20, 1991, the Clerk of the Court filed
an Entry of Default in the case. Subsequently, on June 26,
1991, the plaintiff filed the present motion seeking a Default
Judgment for actual and additional damages, attorneys' fees and
Although the plaintiff submitted an affidavit with respect to
her claim to actual damages, finding the affidavit inconclusive
on the plaintiff's entitlement to actual damages, this Court
further held a hearing on October 17, 1991, at which the
plaintiff, and no other witnesses, testified.
On January 28, 1991, the plaintiff filed her Complaint. On
March 13, 1991, the plaintiff served the Summons and Complaint
on Lanocha. (CIV-91-51S, Wiseman Affidavit, April 9, 1991, exh.
On April 10, 1991, the plaintiff, having received no response
from Lanocha, filed a motion for an entry of default with the
Clerk of the Court. On April 16, 1991, the clerk of the Court
filed an Entry of Default in the case. Subsequently, on August
16, 1991, the plaintiff filed the present motion seeking a
Default Judgment for actual and additional damages, attorneys'
fees and costs.
The Hon. Richard J. Arcara originally presided over
CIV-91-51S. Due to the similarities between CIV-91-51S and
CIV-90-1185S, on December 10, 1991, Judge Arcara transferred
CIV-91-51S to this Court.
Recognizing that CIV-91-51S remains not only factually
similar to CIV-90-1185S, but that plaintiff's claim to actual
damages stems from the conduct of NFS and Lanocha, this Court
inquired of plaintiff, through her counsel Wiseman, whether the
hearing testimony already received in CIV-90-1185S could also
be applied to CIV-91-51S. After consulting with counsel,
plaintiff agreed to apply her hearing testimony to both
II. Plaintiff's Entitlement To "Additional" Damages
In CIV-90-1185S the plaintiff alleges five separate
violations by NFS of four provisions of the FDCPA, all stemming
from a single notice sent to the plaintiff.*fn1 (CIV-90-1185S,
Motion For Default Judgment, exh B). Specifically, the
plaintiff alleges that NFS violated: 1) 15 U.S.C. § 1692g
(insufficient debt validation notification due to size and
color of type and a misleading response date)*fn2; 2)
15 U.S.C. § 1692e(11) (insufficient debt collection disclosure due
to size of type); 3) 15 U.S.C. § 1692e(5) (threat to take ...