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Chandler v. Eichel

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division

September 25, 2017



          Hon. Jane Magnus-Stinson, Chief Judge.

         Plaintiff Alfreda Chandler alleges that Defendant Zachary Eichel and his law firm, Defendant Einterz & Einterz (collectively, “Einterz”), sent Ms. Chandler two misleading letters in an attempt to collect a debt, in violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”), 15 U.S.C. § 1692, et. seq. Mr. Eichel now moves the Court to dismiss Ms. Chandler's Complaint for failure to state a claim. [Filing No. 8.] For the following reasons, the Court DENIES Einterz's Motion.


         Legal Standard

         Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), a party may move to dismiss a claim that does not state a right to relief. The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure require that a complaint provide the defendant with “fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.” Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93 (2007) (quoting Bell Atlantic v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). In reviewing the sufficiency of a complaint, the Court must accept all well-pled facts as true and draw all permissible inferences in favor of the plaintiff. See Active Disposal Inc. v. City of Darien, 635 F.3d 883, 886 (7th Cir. 2011). A Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss asks whether the complaint “contain[s] sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). The Court may not accept legal conclusions or conclusory allegations as sufficient to state a claim for relief. See McCauley v. City of Chicago, 671 F.3d 611, 617 (7th Cir. 2011). Factual allegations must plausibly state an entitlement to relief “to a degree that rises above the speculative level.” Munson v. Gaetz, 673 F.3d 630, 633 (7th Cir. 2012). This plausibility determination is “a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense.” Id.



         The following facts are drawn from Ms. Chandler's Complaint, [Filing No. 1], and attached exhibits, [Filing No. 1-1; Filing No. 1-2], which are treated as true for the purpose of resolving Einterz's Motion. E.g., Geinosky v. City of Chi., 675 F.3d 743, 745 n.1 (7th Cir. 2012) (noting that courts must consider “documents attached to the complaint” under Rule 12(b)(6)).

         In November 2015, Ms. Chandler incurred a debt with Bone Dry Roofing (“Bone Dry”). [Filing No. 1-1.] Some time later, Ms. Chandler defaulted on the debt, and Bone Dry placed the debt with Indiana law firm Einterz & Einterz for collection. [Filing No. 1 at 2; Filing No. 1-1.]

         Mr. Eichel sent a letter dated March 29, 2016, to Ms. Chandler in an attempt to collect on the debt (“March Letter”). The March Letter is printed on Einterz & Einterz stationary and provides, in relevant part, as follows:

         Dear Ms. Chandler:

I represent Bone Dry Roofing in the above-referenced matter. Bone Dry's records indicate that, as of March 29, 2016, an outstanding balance in the amount of $16, 533.00 remains due and owing to my client . . . .
Unfortunately, since my client's earlier reminders and requests for payment have apparently gone unheeded, legal action must now be pursued. Accordingly, unless payment is received within thirty (30) days, or on or before April 28, 2016, litigation will be initiated to collect all outstanding sums due and owing to Bone Dry Roofing. If such litigation is required, any and all court costs and other expenses incurred by my client in this matter, including reimbursement for attorney's fees as permitted by law, will be sought. This will result in a minimum increase of this claim of $1, 000.00 and likely considerably more.
Hopefully, the need to resort to such extraordinary measures will be unnecessary. However, this can only be avoided by tendering full payment as identified above. Please contact me to make arrangements for payment of all sums due and owing Bone Dry Roofing in this matter. This is an effort at collecting an outstanding debt. If you dispute this debt, you must contact this office within thirty (30) days. If you request confirmation of your account, it will be furnished to you. All notices and actions will be conducted consistent with the Fair Debt Collection Act.

[Filing No. 1-1 at 1.] The letter was signed by Mr. Eichel. [Filing No. 1-1 at 1.]

         Mr. Eichel later sent Ms. Chandler a second letter, dated September 30, 2016 (“September Letter”), which was also printed on Einterz & Einterz stationary. [Filing No. 1-2 at 1.] The September Letter bore a case caption from the Marion County Superior Court in the subject line at the top, [Filing No. 1 at 3], and provided as follows:

Re: Bone Dry Roofing, Inc. v. Alfreda Chandler Cause No. 49D02-1605-PL-017967
Dear Ms. Chandler:
Enclosed please find copies of the Verified Motion for Proceedings Supplemental and Praecipe for Sheriff's Sale that have been filed with the Court in the ...

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