United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
MIKE SPIEGEL, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
ASHWOOD FINANCIAL, INC., an Indiana corporation, Defendant.
ORDER ON MOTION TO APPROVE PROPOSED AMENDED CLASS
J. MCKINNEY UNITED STATE DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff's, Mike
Spiegel, individually and on behalf of all others similarly
situated (“Spiegel's”), Motion to Approve
Proposed Amended Class Notice and Notice of Continued Dispute
Regarding Class Notice (the “Motion”). Dkt. No.
74. For the foregoing reasons, the Court
GRANTS Spiegel's Motion.
March 16, 2016, Spiegel received an initial form letter from
Ashwood Financial, Inc. (“Ashwood”), demanding
payment of a delinquent consumer debt (the
“Letter”). Dkt.No. 1, ¶ 7. The Letter
stated, in part,
Unless within (30) days after receipt of the first
communication from this office you dispute the validity of
the debt or any portion thereof, it will be assumed to be
valid. If you notify this office information [sic] within the
thirty (30) day period after receipt of the first
communication from this office that you dispute the debt or
any portion thereof, this office will obtain verification of
the debt and a copy of such verification, along with the
creditor's name and address, will be mailed to you by
this office. If you request information, within the thirty
(30) day period, the name and address of the original
creditor, if different from the current creditor, this office
will provide you with the requested information. This is
required under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
filed his Complaint on July 26, 2016, alleging that the
Letter violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
(“FDCPA”), 15 U.S.C. §§ 1692g(a)(4)
& (5), by failing to state that any dispute of the debt
or any request for the name and address of the original
creditor must be made in writing for a debtor to obtain a
verification of the debt or the name and address of the
original creditor, if different than the current creditor.
Id. at ¶¶ 7, 12-13. Spiegel further argues
that Ashwood's failure to notify debtors that such
disputes or requests must be in writing constituted unfair
and unconscionable collection actions in violation of the
FDCPA because whether a dispute could be made orally or in
writing could determine whether a consumer wishes to dispute
the debt. Id. at ¶¶ 8, 17.
February 2, 2017, the Court certified Spiegel's proposed
class, which was defined as
All persons similarly situated in the State of Indiana from
whom Ashwood attempted to collect a delinquent consumer debt,
via the same form collection letter that Ashwood sent to
Spiegel from one year before the date of the Complaint to the
Dkt. No. 52 at 8.
February 22, 2017, Spiegel sought the Court's approval of
its initial proposed Notice of Class Action. Dkt. No. 59. The
Court rejected Spiegel's initial proposed Notice of Class
Action on March 23, 2017, because it failed to clearly
communicate the subsections of 15 U.S.C. § 1692(a) that
Ashwood allegedly violated. Dkt. No. 71 at 4.
Court further ordered the parties to “confer regarding
a proposed Amended Notice of Class Action, which shall
provide greater specificity as to the subsections serving as
the basis for the Class's claims.” Dkt. No. 71 at
the Court's prior Order requiring the parties to confer,
id., Spiegel and Ashwood demonstrated an apparent
inability to cooperate with one another in relation to class
notification. See Dkt. No. 73, Ex. B; Dkt. No. 75,
Ex. A; Dkt. No. 76, Ex. A & B. In light of their
inability to cooperate, Spiegel and Ashwood each submitted a
proposed Notice of Class Action for the Court's
consideration. See Dkt. No. 73, Exs. A & C.
filed his Motion on April 6, 2017, in which he provides
notice to the Court of the parties' continued dispute
regarding class notification and requests the Court's
approval of his attached proposed Amended Notice of Class
Action (the “Spiegel Amended Notice”). See
generally, Dkt. No. 74. Spiegel ...