United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Hammond Division
OPINION AND ORDER
P. SIMON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT CHIEF JUDGE
Johnson claims that the dunning letter she received from
Enhanced Recovery Company, LLC (“ERC”), a debt
collector, was false or misleading in violation of the Fair
Debt Collection Practices Act. ERC seeks dismissal of the
case, arguing that the letter is plainly neither false nor
misleading. The Seventh Circuit has instructed that whether a
debt collection letter is misleading under the FDCPA turns on
questions of fact. Dismissal is permitted in only the most
extreme cases, when no reasonable consumer could be misled.
Johnson's complaint plausibly shows that ERC's letter
could mislead reasonable consumers. So ERC's motion to
dismiss will be denied.
sent Johnson a collection letter dated April 21, 2016. The
letter alleges that Johnson didn't pay her Sprint bill,
so Sprint contracted with ERC to collect the debt. The letter
offers Johnson three options to pay less than the full amount
allegedly due. The second page of the letter appears to
contain notices required by federal and various states'
laws. (DE 1-1 at 1-2.) Johnson attached the letter to her
complaint. (DE 1-1, referred to in the complaint as
“Exhibit A.”) It is therefore “part of the
[complaint] for all purposes.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 10(c).
Rather than just looking to the plaintiff's description
of the letter, I will go straight to the horse's mouth
and refer directly to the letter. See, e.g.,
Bogie v. Rosenberg, 705 F.3d 603, 609 (7th Cir.
filed her complaint on July 12, 2016, alleging that the April
21 letter violated the FDCPA by making false or misleading
statements. (DE 1, hereinafter cited as “Compl.”)
Johnson seeks class certification of her suit. (DE 4.) The
Magistrate Judge temporarily stayed class certification
briefing. (DE 8, 14, 20.) I subsequently denied the motion
without prejudice to refiling because it was getting stale
without briefing. (DE 26.) So for the present, the party
plaintiff in this case is Johnson as an individual.
letter to Johnson says, in relevant part:
Our records indicate that your balance with Sprint remains
unpaid; therefore your account has been placed with ERC for
collection efforts. We are willing to reduce your outstanding
balance by offering discounted options.
Option 1: Pay the settlement of $875.78, please remit by May
Option 2: Pay the settlement of $930.51, payable in 2 monthly
payments of $465.26.
Option 3: Pay the settlement of $985.25, payable in 3 monthly
payments of $328.42.
We are not obligated to renew this offer.
This letter serves as notification that your delinquent
account may be reported to the national credit bureaus.
Payment of the offered settlement amount will stop collection
activity on this matter. We will inform Sprint once the
payment(s) is/are posted. Payment of the settlement amount
will not restore your service with Sprint. If you wish to
establish service with Sprint at a future date, the remaining
balance must be ...