Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

SHAPIRO v. RIDDLE & ASSOCIATES

January 15, 2003

STEVEN SHAPIRO. PLAINTIFF,
V.
RIDDLE & ASSOCIATES. P.C., DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Lewis A. Kaplan, United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

This is an action for alleged violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (the "FDCPA").*fn1 There are no issues of fact, and the parties have cross-moved for summary judgment. Plaintiff has moved also for class certification. In view of the disposition of the cross-motions, there is no need to address the class certification motion.

Facts

Defendant Riddle & Associates, P.C. ("Riddle") was retained to recover $309.76 owed to its client by plaintiff Steven Shapiro pursuant to a contract that provided, inter alia, that:

"[i]f we are required to use a collection agency or attorney to collect money that you owe to us . . ., you agree to pay the reasonable cost of collection or other action. These costs might include, but are not limited to, the costs of the collection agency, reasonable attorney fees, and court costs."*fn2

On or about April 30, 2001, Riddle sent plaintiff a letter containing the following language:

"If you want to resolve this matter without a lawsuit, you must either pay the Total Amount Due listed above (unless it has already been paid) or call our firm at 1-800-225-5050 and work out arrangements for payment. If you do neither of these things, our client will be entitled to file a lawsuit against you for collection of this debt. No decision has been made to file a law suit. If legal action is taken and a law suit is filed, it will be handled by an attorney licensed in your state.
"Federal law gives you thirty days after you receive this letter to dispute the validity of the debt or any part of it. If you don't dispute it within that period, we will assume it is valid. If you do dispute it — by notifying our firm in writing to that effect — we will, as required by law, obtain and mail to you proof of the debt. And if, within the same period, you request in writing the name and address of your original creditor, if the original creditor is different from the current creditor, we will furnish you with that information too.
"The law does not require our client to wait until the end of the thirty-day period before suing you to collect this debt. If, however, you request proof of the debt or the name and address of the original creditor within the thirty-day period that begins with your receipt of this letter, the law requires our firm to suspend our efforts (through litigation or otherwise) to collect the debt until we mail the requested information to you.
"This is an attempt to collect a debt. Any information obtained will be used for that purpose. This communication is from a debt collector."*fn3

The letter sought recovery of, in addition to the debt owed by plaintiff, a $98 attorney/collection cost.*fn4

Discussion

Plaintiff advances two theories on which, he claims, the letter violated the FDCPA. First, he maintains that the inclusion of the $98 attorney collection cost charge constituted a false representation that the plaintiff was subject to a collection charge that was, in fact, illegal. Second. he argues that the letter, taken as a whole, violated the FDCPA's validation provision, which requires notice to the debtor ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.