Kevin T. Williams, Appellant-Defendant,
Unifund CCR, LLC, Appellee-Plaintiff.
from the St. Joseph Circuit Court, The Honorable John E.
Broden, Judge, The Honorable Larry L. Ambler, Magistrate,
Trial Court Cause No. 71C01-1401-CC-78.
Attorney for Appellant Judith Fox Alan Grigorian, Certified
Legal Intern Notre Dame Clinical Law Center South Bend,
OF THE CASE
Appellant-Defendant, Kevin T. Williams (Williams), appeals
the trial court's judgment in favor of
Appellee-Plaintiff, Unifund CCR, LLC (Unifund), on
Unifund's Complaint against Williams for nonpayment of
credit card debt.
Williams raises four issues on appeal, one of which we find
dispositive and which we restate as: Whether the evidence
admitted at trial supports Unifund's claim.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Unifund is a debt-buying company that purchases charged-off
accounts from credit card companies by way of large
portfolios of debt. When acquiring credit card accounts
through assignment agreements, the accounts are handled by
several assignees before being ultimately assigned to
Unifund. Here, the account at issue was purchased by Pilot
Receivables Management (Pilot), who assigned it to its
affiliated entity Unifund CCR Partners (Unifund Partners),
after which Unifund Partners assigned the account to Unifund.
The account was transferred to Unifund in a very large Excel
file, which "can contain anywhere from one to several
thousand credit card accounts all displayed as a single line
in that Excel spreadsheet." (Transcript p. 29). Unifund
altered this spreadsheet in anticipation of trial.
On April 29, 2002, Williams opened a credit card account with
Citibank. By 2009, Williams had accumulated monthly credit
card debt in the aggregate amount of $10, 402.90. On or about
March 25, 2013, Citibank sold a block of charged-off
accounts, including Williams' account, to Pilot who, in
turn, assigned the account to Unifund Partners. The
information listed on the spreadsheet that Citibank provided
to Pilot included the account number, the account balance,
the date of the last payment, the account holder's name
and social security number. On July 1, 2013, Pilot assigned
"Receivables" to Unifund Partners "for
collection purposes only, " with Pilot retaining
"title and ownership of such Receivable."
(Appellant's App. Vol. III, p. 107). That same day,
Unifund Partners assigned these "Receivables" to
Unifund. (Appellant's App. Vol. III, p. 108).
On January 21, 2014, Unifund filed a Complaint, alleging
breach of contract, account stated, promissory estoppel, and
unjust enrichment. On February 13, 2014, Williams filed his
answer and motion to dismiss Unifund's Complaint, as well
as a motion to strike Unifund's exhibits, arguing that
the affidavit of debt, account statement, and bill of sale
and assignment were based on hearsay and therefore
inadmissible under Indiana Evidence Rule 802. On January 12,
2015, Unifund filed its motion for summary judgment to which
Williams filed a brief in opposition. On April 1, 2015,
following a hearing, the trial court denied Unifund's
motion for summary judgment. On July 27, 2015, the trial
court ordered Unifund to provide proof of the last payment
date in Williams' account, as well as proof of ownership
of the account. The trial court additionally directed that
any additional exhibits offered at trial should be exchanged
by the parties by August 17, 2015.
On August 31, 2015, the trial court conducted a bench trial.
During trial, Unifund offered two Exhibits into evidence,
both of which contained documents which had not previously
been provided to Williams pursuant to the trial court's
order. After a timely objection by Williams, the trial court
took the admission of the Exhibits under advisement. On
October 22, 2015, the trial court issued its judgment,
admitting the Exhibits and awarding Unifund $10, 402.90 plus
costs. On November 23, 2015, Williams filed a motion to
correct error, which was denied by the trial court on March
Williams now appeals. Additional facts will be ...