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.

Spira v. I.C. System

October 5, 2006

NATHAN SPIRA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
I.C. SYSTEM, INC., DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Levy, United States Magistrate Judge

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Plaintiff Nathan Spira ("plaintiff" or "Spira") commenced this purported class action in September 2005, asserting violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. §§ 1692-1692p (1998) (the "FDCPA" or the "Act"). Before the court are the plaintiff's motion for judgment on the pleadings pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(c), and the defendant's motion for summary judgment, pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). This matter is before me on consent of the parties, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636. The court heard oral argument on August 4, 2006. For the reasons stated below, plaintiff's motion is granted in part and defendant's motion is denied in part.

BACKGROUND AND FACTS*fn1

This case concerns two debt collection letters and whether they violated the FDCPA. Plaintiff Spira owed a $70.22 debt to Verizon New York which was referred for collection to the defendant, I.C. System, Inc., a "debt collector" as defined by 15 U.S.C. § 1692a(6). (Complaint, dated Sept. 12, 2005 ("Compl."), ¶¶ 3, 6, 21-22.) Defendant made an initial attempt to collect from plaintiff in a letter dated July 6, 2005. (Compl., Ex. B.) The initial letter stated in relevant part:

You are hereby notified that I.C. System will forward the account information to the national credit reporting agencies if you fail to fulfill the terms of your credit obligation. Of course, you will have the right then, as you do now, to inspect your credit file in accordance with federal law. I.C. System will not submit the account information to the national credit reporting agencies until the expiration of the time period described in the notice below.

(Id.) Plaintiff stipulates that the "notice" portion of the July 6 letter "complied with the requirements of [15 U.S.C.] § 1692g," by informing plaintiff that he had thirty days to dispute the alleged debt in writing.*fn2 (Compl., Ex. B. See also Memorandum in Support of Plaintiff's Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings and in Opposition to Defendant's Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings, dated Feb. 24, 2006 ("Pl.'s Mem."), at 5 (acknowledging that the July 6 letter complied with the notification law).)

Defendant sent plaintiff a second letter, dated July 22, 2005. Defendant stipulates that this additional letter was mailed and received prior to the expiration of the thirty-day period in which the plaintiff could dispute the alleged debt. (Defendant's Memorandum in Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings and in Support of Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment ("Def.'s Mem"), at 1.) Defendant's letter restated the amount of the alleged debt plaintiff owed to Verizon New York ($70.22), inquired as to whether plaintiff was refusing to pay the debt, and provided a telephone number to contact if plaintiff intended to make payment arrangements. (Compl., Ex. A.) The letter concluded with this paragraph:

Since you have failed to abide by the terms of your credit obligation, one of the next steps our office will take is to submit to national credit reporting agencies that this balance has been placed with I.C. System, Inc., for collection. You have the right to inspect your credit file in accordance with federal law. (Id.) Plaintiff alleges that the statements in the second letter violated the requirements of 15 U.S.C. § 1692g because they overshadow and contradict the contents of the initial letter, potentially giving an unsophisticated debtor the impression that the requisite thirty-day dispute period had been cut short. (See Pl.'s Mem. at 5.) In addition, plaintiff claims that defendant's statements in the second letter were "false, deceptive, and misleading," in violation of 15 U.S.C. §§ 1692e(5) and (10).*fn3 (Pl.'s Mem. at 6.) Specifically, plaintiff contends that the letter's threat to report the debt to the national credit bureaus was illegal, in violation of § 1692e(5), and that the language in the letter would lead the least sophisticated consumer to believe that his validation period had been shortened, in violation of § 1692e(10). (See Pl.'s Mem. at 5.) The purported class is defined as those consumers who received the same two form letters from defendant. (Compl. ¶ 22.)

DISCUSSION

1. Summary Judgment Standard

Summary judgment "shall be rendered forthwith if . . . there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and . . . the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c); see also Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). In deciding a summary judgment motion, the court must view the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving party and decide only whether there is any genuine issue to be tried. Eastman Mach. Co. v. United States, 841 F.2d 469, 473 (2d Cir. 1988). A genuine factual issue exists if, taking into account the burdens of production and proof that would be required at trial, there is sufficient evidence favoring the non-movant such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict in that party's favor. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). The burden of establishing that no genuine factual dispute exists rests on the party seeking summary judgment. Chambers v. TRM Copy Ctrs. Corp., 43 F.3d 29, 36 (2d Cir. 1994). This burden "may be discharged by 'showing' -- that is, pointing out to the district court -- that there is an absence of evidence to support the nonmoving party's case." Celotex, 477 U.S. at 325.

Here, the parties cross-move for judgment as a matter of law. The Second Circuit has noted that [w]hen faced with cross-motions for summary judgment, a district court is not required to grant judgment as a matter of law for one side or the other. "Rather, the court must evaluate each party's motion on its own merits, taking care in each instance to draw all reasonable inferences against the party whose motion is under consideration."

Heublein, Inc. v. United States, 996 F.2d 1455, 1461 (2d Cir. 1993) (quoting Schwabenbauer v. Bd. of Educ. of Olean, 667 F.2d 305, 313-14 (2d Cir. 1981)). In the case at bar there does not exist any disputed issue of material fact. The two collection letters, drafted by defendant and received by plaintiff, speak for ...


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.