United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
FRANCINA SMITH, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
GC SERVICES LIMITED PARTNERSHIP, a Delaware limited partnership, and OWNERS RESOURCE GROUP GC GP BUYER, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company, Defendants.
ENTRY ON PLAINTIFF'S SECOND AMENDED MOTION FOR
RICHARD L. YOUNG, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Francina Smith, individually and on behalf of all others
similarly situated, claims the Defendants, GC Services
Limited Partnership and Owner Resource Group GC GP Buyer,
LLC, sent her and the putative class a debt collection letter
that violated various provisions of the Fair Debt Collection
Practices Act (“FDCPA”), 15 U.S.C. § 1692
et seq. Plaintiff now moves for class certification
under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(a) and (b)(3). For
the reasons that follow, the court GRANTS Plaintiff's
sent Plaintiff a form collection letter, dated March 17,
2016, which reads, in relevant part:
As of the date of this letter, our records show you owe a
balance of $3, 095.00 to Synchrony Bank. If you dispute this
balance or the validity of this debt, please let us know in
writing. If you do not dispute this debt in writing within 30
days after you receive this letter, we will assume this debt
However, if you do dispute all or any portion of this debt in
writing within 30 days of receiving this letter, we will
obtain verification of the debt from our client and send it
to you. Or, if within 30 days of receiving this letter you
request in writing the name and address of the original
creditor, we will provide it to you in the event it differs
from our client, Synchrony Bank.
(Filing No. 25-3, Collection Letter). The text of Section
1692g(a)(3) of the FDCPA, however, simply says that a
consumer need only “dispute the validity of the
Amended Complaint - Class Action, filed on October 18, 2016,
alleges that Defendants violated Section 1692g by wrongfully
informing Plaintiff that disputes must be in writing when, in
fact, an oral dispute is valid. (Filing No. 25, Amended
Compl. ¶¶ 12-15). She alleges Defendants'
letter also violated Sections 1692e and 1692f because the
statement-that any dispute of the debt must be in writing-was
false, deceptive, and misleading, (id. ¶¶
16-19), and unfair and unconscionable, (id.
requests the court allow her to represent a class with the
[A]ll persons similarly situated in the State of Indiana from
whom Defendants attempted to collect a delinquent consumer
debt allegedly owed for a Synchrony Bank/Sam's Club
account, via the same form collection letter that Defendants
sent to Plaintiff, from one year before the date of the
initial Complaint to the present.
(Filing No. 68, Plaintiff's Statement as to Class
Definition). Plaintiff asserts that all the prerequisites for
class certification pursuant to Rules 23(a) and (b)(3) are
met. Defendants argue otherwise.
Rule 23 Requirements
action suits are governed by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
23. A party seeking class certification bears the burden of
establishing that certification is appropriate. Retired
Chicago Police Ass'n v. City of Chicago, 7 F.3d 584,
596 (7th Cir. 1993). The decision whether to grant or deny a
motion for class certification lies within the broad
discretion of the trial court. Id.
prescribes a two-step analysis to determine whether class
certification is appropriate. First, a plaintiff must satisfy
Rule 23(a)'s requirements of numerosity, commonality,
typicality, and adequacy of representation. Clark v.
Experian Info. Sols., Inc., 256 Fed.Appx. 818, 821 (7th
Cir. 2007); Williams v. Chartwell Fin. Serv., Ltd.,
204 F.3d 748, 760 (7th Cir. 2000). The failure to meet any
one of these requirements precludes certification of a class.
Retired Chicago Police Ass'n, 7 F.3d at 596.
Second, the action must also satisfy one of the conditions of
Rule 23(b). Clark, 256 Fed.Appx. at 821;
Williams, 204 F.3d at 760. Plaintiff seeks
certification under Rule 23(b)(3), which permits class
certification if “questions of law or fact common to