United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, LaFayette Division
MATTHEW A. SCHROEDER, Plaintiff,
W. CHRISTIAN MEYER, Defendant.
OPINION AND ORDER
T. MOODY UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE
December 7, 2011 and March 14, 2014, plaintiff Matthew
Schroeder received medical services at GLHS Surgical Center.
(DE # 21-1 at 25.) Schroeder allegedly incurred a $12, 814.16
debt to Unity Surgical Center, which was referred to
defendant Walter Christian Meyer for collection.
(Id. at 25, 27.) Meyer drafted a dunning letter
concerning this alleged debt, and on May 23, 2014, he sent
the letter to 210 N. Beach Drive in Monticello, Indiana. (DE
# 18-3 at 9, 32.) On that same day, Meyer also sent a request
to the United States Post Office ("USPS") to obtain
the specific unit at 210 N. Beach Drive where Schroeder was
residing. (DE # 21-1 at 33-34.) USPS responded that Schroeder
resided at 210 N. Beach Drive, Unit B. (Id.) In
actuality, Schroeder had moved from Unit B to Unit A some
time in 2013. (DE # 18-1 at 6-7.)
Schroeder received the dunning letter as mailed and attempted
to contact Meyer by phone. (DE # 21-2 at 23, 26.)
Defendant's documents indicate that Schroeder called
Meyer's office on June 4, 2014, to inform Meyer that he
was planning to move to South Carolina. (Id.)
Schroeder then sent Meyer a letter dated June 9, 2014,
disputing the debt and requesting validation. (DE # 21-1 at
32.) In that letter, Schroeder provided his mother's
phone number, email address, and home address -504 Anchor
Drive, #203, Lafayette, Indiana-which plaintiff referred to
as his permanent address. (DE # 21-2 at 10.) Schroeder also
sent a second letter to Meyer, dated June 10, 2014, which
asserted that he was moving to South Carolina as of that
date. (Id. at 11.)
18, 2014, Meyer responded to Schroeder's request by
sending a verification letter to 210 N. Beach Drive, Unit B
in Monticello, Indiana. (DE # 21-1 at 33.) Schroeder alleges
that he did not receive the verification because he had
moved. (DE # 21-3 at 6-7.) However, Meyer disputes this and
argues that Schroeder may have received the verification,
because the letter may have been forwarded to South Carolina.
(DE # 22 at 2-3.)
September 2014, Meyer submitted a second request for
Schroeder's address to USPS. (DE # 21-1 at 62.) USPS
responded stating that they showed Schroeder was living at
the same Beach Drive address but in Unit A, instead of Unit
B. (Id. at 63.)
September 25, 2014, Meyer filed a lawsuit on behalf of GLHS
Unity Surgery Center against Schroeder in the Tippecanoe
County Superior Court (the "state court"). (DE #
21-1 at 36.) Meyer attempted to serve Schroeder at 210 N.
Beach Drive, Apt. A in Monticello. (Id. at 39-40.)
However, service was not successful because Schroeder did not
live at that address. (Id.) Meyer never asked
Schroeder or his mother for Schroeder's new address in
South Carolina. (DE # 21-1 at 66-67.)
December 5, 2014, an alias summons and complaint were
attached to the door at 504 Anchor Drive Apartment 203. (DE #
21-1 at 83.) Schroeder's mother discovered the summons
and complaint and called her son and advised him of the
lawsuit some time in December 2014. (DE # 18-2 at 8.)
December 14, 2014, Schroeder sent Meyer a check containing
his South Carolina address. (DE ## 21-1 at 41-42; 21-2 at
21.) Furthermore, on December 18, 2014, Meyer received
Schroeder's affidavit stating he had never resided at the
Anchor Drive address. (DE # 21-4 at 1-3.) Nevertheless, on
December 29, 2014, Meyer filed a motion for default judgment
on behalf of the plaintiff in the state court case. (DE #
1-3.) In that motion, Meyer wrote that Schroeder had been
"duly served with process of this action pursuant to
Trial Rule 4.1 of the Indiana Rules of Trial Procedure."
(Id.) The state court entered default judgment
against Schroeder; however, that court later granted
Schroeder's motion to set aside the default judgment. (DE
## 21-1 at 83; 24-1.)
April 16, 2015, Schroeder filed a complaint against Meyer in
this court seeking statutory and actual damages, along with
attorney's fees and costs, for violation of the Fair Debt
Collection Practices Act (the "FDCPA"), 15 U.S.C
§ 1692. (DE # 1.) Specifically, he alleges that Meyer
violated sections 1692e, 1692f, and 1692g(b) of the FDCPA.
(Id.) On May 2, 2016, Meyer moved for summary
judgment on all of plaintiff's claims. (DE # 18.) That
same day, Schroeder filed a motion for partial summary
judgment as to liability on his FDCPA claims. (DE # 20). The
motions have been fully briefed and are ripe for ruling.
has moved for summary judgment. Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 56 requires the entry of summary judgment, after
adequate time for discovery, against a party "who fails
to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an
element essential to that party's case, and on which that
party will bear the burden of proof at trial."
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986).
"[S]ummary judgment is appropriate - in fact, is
mandated-where there are no disputed issues of material fact
and the movant must prevail as a matter of law. In other
words, the record must reveal that no reasonable jury could
find for the non-moving party." Dempsey v. Atchison,
Topeka, & Santa Fe Ry. Co., 16 F.3d 832, 836 (7th
Cir. 1994) (citations and quotation marks omitted).
moving party bears the initial burden of demonstrating that
these requirements have been met. Carmichael v. Village
of Palatine, III, 605 F.3d 451, 460 (7th Cir. 2010).
"[T]he burden on the moving party 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. Once the moving party has met his burden, the
non-moving party must identify specific facts establishing
that there is a genuine issue of fact for trial. Anderson
v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 252 (1986);
Palmer v. Marion County, 327 F.3d 588, 595 (7th Cir.
2003) (citing Celotex, 477 U.S. at 324). In doing
so, the non-moving party cannot rest on the pleadings alone,
but must present fresh proof in support of its position.
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248; Donovan v. City of
Milwaukee, 17 F.3d 944, 947 (7th Cir. 1994). In viewing
the facts presented on a motion for summary judgment, the
court must construe all facts in a light most favorable to
the non-moving party and draw all reasonable inferences in
favor of that party. Chmiel v. JC Penney Life Ins.
Co., 158 F.3d 966 (7th Cir. 1998).