United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ORDER ON CROSS-MOTIONS FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
McVicker Lynch, United States Magistrate Judge.
case concerns whether defendant Med-1 Solutions, LLC, a debt
collector, violated a provision of the Fair Debt Collection
Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1692g(a), that requires the
debt collector to send a validation notice to the debtor with
its initial communication to collect the debt or within five
days after that initial communication. Both parties have
moved for summary judgment, and they agree that the material
facts are not disputed. As explained below, the court
determines plaintiff Beth Lavallee is entitled to judgment as
a matter of law. Ms. Lavallee's motion for summary
judgment (Dkt. 33) is GRANTED. Defendant Med-1 Solutions,
LLC's motion for summary judgment (Dkt. 26) is DENIED.
Judgment will be entered in favor of Ms. Lavallee for
statutory damages, costs, and reasonable attorneys' fees,
with costs and fees to be determined upon the filing of an
appropriate motion under Rule 54(d).
judgment is appropriate when “there is no genuine
dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a).
Substantive law determines the facts that are material.
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 251,
106 S.Ct. 2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986).
the material facts are not disputed, and the court can decide
as a matter of law whether Med-1 Solutions violated FDCPA
court considers the following undisputed facts.
Med-1 Solutions, LLC is a debt collector within the meaning
of the FDCPA. Plaintiff Beth Lavallee incurred two consumer
debts for medical services provided to her by a hospital, the
original creditor. Med-1 Solutions sought to collect those
of its collection activity, Med-1 Solutions uses a vendor
(Privacy Data Systems, its sister company) that created a
software application called
“SenditCertified™.” Nell Dep., Dkt. 27-1,
13:15-23. Med-1 Solutions supplies data through a data batch
process to the vendor about debts it seeks to collect. The
vendor's software application extracts the data and
inputs it to populate a .pdf document. Id., 22:2-14
and 23:3-9. The .pdf document is “sent” to the
intended recipient by email as a “secure package”
in the following manner. The recipient is sent an email; the
sender on the email is Info@med1solutions.com.
Id., 26:20-22. The subject of the email is that
“Med-1 Solutions has sent you a secure message.”
See Dkt. 33-1 at p. 66; Nell Dep., 26:9-17. If the
email is opened by the recipient, the message reads:
“Please find your message attached, ” thus
alerting the recipient that she can pick up a “secure
message” by clicking a link. Id.¸
14:5-11; Nell Exh. 4, Dkt. 33-1. The email itself also
includes Med-1 Solutions' name, phone number, and
recipient clicks the link, she is redirected over the
internet via a web browser to access the vendor's web
server where there is another message “instructing the
user to accept their attachment, ” i.e., the
.pdf “secure package.” Id., 23:10-16.
The recipient can “accept” the attachment by
checking a box to “sign for this Secure Package”
and verify that she is the person whose name and email is
listed. Id., 34:1-11; Nell Exh. 2, Dkt. 33-1 at p.
59. If that box is checked, the recipient finally is given
access to the .pdf document if she clicks on the “Open
Secure Package” button appearing on her screen.
Id., 34:1-11; Nell Exh 2, Dkt. 33-1 at p. 60.
.pdf “secure package” contains a letter to the
recipient from Med-1 Solutions that is Med-1 Solutions'
FDCPA Section 1692g(a) notification. See Dkt. 27-3
(the Section 1692g(a) notification for one of Ms.
Lavallee's two debts that was her “secure
Solutions provided the vendor with data about the two
hospital debts it sought to collect from Ms. Lavallee, and
the above process was used to send an email to Ms. Lavallee
related to each debt. The first email (for the first debt) was
sent on March 20, 2015, and the second email (for the second
debt) was sent on April 17, 2015.
email address used by Med-1 Solutions' vendor for Ms.
Lavallee was one she had given the hospital. Ms. Lavallee
regularly checks her email inbox and her email spam folder,
which automatically deletes spam emails when they age over 30
days. Although Ms. Lavallee does not remember receiving
either the March 20 or April 17 emails, Med-1 Solutions'
vendor did not receive any error message indicating a problem
in the transmission of either email. The emails were not
returned as undelivered. Nell Dep., 45:16 to 46-10. Med-1
Solutions' vendor and Med-1 Solutions know too, however,
that Ms. Lavallee never viewed or accessed the .pdf
“secure package” document for either debt. That
is because the vendor's system “records any attempt
to view [the .pdf document, or “secure
package”]” and there was no record of any attempt
to view the secure packages. Id., 46:11-21. If Med-1
Solutions wishes to determine whether a .pdf secure package
has been viewed by the debtor, it can ask the vendor or it
can check its own logs. Id., 46:22-25.
it is undisputed that for each of the two debts at issue (1)
Ms. Lavallee received an email from
Info@med1solutions.com advising her she had an
important message, (2) the email itself did not include Med-1
Solutions' Section 1692g(a) validation notice related to
the debt or even mention the hospital,  and (3) Ms.
Lavallee never ...