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George v. Wright, Lerch & Litow, LLP

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division

November 29, 2016

CHERRONE GEORGE, Plaintiff,
v.
WRIGHT, LERCH & LITOW, LLP Attorneys at Law, Defendant.

          FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW

          Hon. Jane Magnus-Stinson, Judge.

         Plaintiff Cherrone George brings the instant suit against Defendant Wright, Lerch & Litow, LLP Attorneys at Law (“Wright”) under the Federal Debt Collection Practice Act (“FDCPA”), 15 U.S.C. § 1692, et. seq. She argues that she received a dunning letter from Wright that is missing the total amount due which she claims is a violation of the FDCPA. [Filing No. 1.] Ms. George filed a Motion for Summary Judgment, [Filing No. 49], and Wright filed a Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment, [Filing No. 56]. After a conference call with the presiding Magistrate Judge on November 15, 2016, the parties stipulated that the Court will determine all issues of fact and law made in connection with their pending motions for summary judgment and will issue findings of fact, conclusions of law, and a final judgment pursuant Fed.R.Civ.P. 52. [Filing No. 67.] The parties indicated that they submitted all pertinent legal arguments and evidence in their summary judgment briefing. [Filing No. 67.] Because the Court is the fact finder, it is not constrained to the standard for summary judgment and accordingly issues its findings of fact and conclusions of law below.

         II.

         Findings of Fact[1]

         On April 15, 1995, Ms. George entered into a retail installment contract for “personal, family, or household purposes, ” which was later assigned to Credit Acceptance Corporation (“Credit Acceptance”). [Filing No. 50-1 at 1; Filing No. 55-3 at 1.] Ms. George was unable to make her payments and Credit Acceptance filed a claim against her in small claims court. [Filing No. 55-3 at 1.] After she failed to appear or otherwise respond to the complaint, Credit Acceptance obtained a judgment against Ms. George on February 22, 1996 in the amount of $4, 434.53 plus costs. [Filing No. 55-3 at 2.] Post-judgment interest has accrued on the outstanding judgment since that date. [Filing No. 55-3 at 2.] ¶ 2000, Credit Acceptance retained Wright to collect the outstanding debt from Ms. George. [Filing No. 55-3 at 2.] Wright attempted to contact Ms. George on several occasions regarding the debt. [Filing No. 55-3 at 2.] A representative from Wright met with Ms. George in person at two proceedings supplemental in 2010 and 2011. [Filing No. 55-3 at 2.] On December 3, 2014, Ms. George received a letter from Wright, which provided:

Our client: Credit Acceptance Corporation
Original Creditor:
Original Account Number:___3999
Wright, Lerch & Litow File No.: 7546

         Dear Cherrone M. George-Herring:

         Our client has given us the authority to offer a settlement to pay off the above account. Our client will settle this matter for 75% of the balance. This offer expires 30 days from issuance of this letter.

         Call now to take advantage of this opportunity at 260-423-6655.

         THIS IS AN ATTEMPT TO COLLECT A DEBT AND ANY INFORMATION WE OBTAIN WILL BE USED FOR THAT PURPOSE. THIS COMMUNICATION IS FROM A DEBT COLLECTOR AS THAT TERM IS DEFINED IN FEDERAL LAW.

         Thanks, Collection Team

         [Filing No. 50-2.]

         The letter does not advise Ms. George as to the precise amount of the settlement demand. However, the debt in question accrued interest on a daily basis, so seventy-five percent of the balance would vary depending upon when or if Ms. George ...


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