United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
Jane Magnus-Stinson, Chief Judge
Edward Taylor alleges that Defendants sent him and over 200
others a form debt collection letter which failed to
effectively identify the current creditor, in violation of
the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
(“FDCPA”), 15 U.S.C. § 1692,
et. seq. Mr. Taylor now seeks to certify a class
consisting of everyone who received the same form letter from
February 1, 2017, to the present. [Filing No. 32.]
Defendants oppose class certification, arguing that Mr.
Taylor has failed to satisfy the requirements set forth in
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23. But Defendants ultimately
demand far more of Mr. Taylor than is required by Rule 23.
For the reasons described below, the Court
GRANTS Mr. Taylor's Motion.
lawsuit arises out of a dunning letter, dated December 12,
2017, that Mr. Taylor received from Defendant Alltran
Financial, LP (“Alltran”). [Filing
No. 33-1.] In relevant part, the letter provided as
[Filing No. 33-1 at 1.] Three features from this
letter are relevant to Mr. Taylor's lawsuit. The letter
listed as the “Original Creditor” nonparty
Springleaf Financial Services Inc., [Filing No. 33-1 at
1], from whom Mr. Taylor had previously borrowed money,
[seeFiling No. 1 at 3.] Next, the letter stated that
the “Current Creditor” was Defendant LVNV
Funding, LLC (“LVNV”). [Filing No.
33-1 at 1.] Finally, below this information, the letter
explained that “Alltran Financial, LP has been
contracted to lead and represent in the collection of the
judgment awarded on your Springleaf Financial Services Inc.
account.” [Filing No. 33-1 at 1.]
Approximately 200 consumers received form dunning letters
identical to the one sent to Mr. Taylor. [Filing No. 42-1
at 3 (identifying class of 218 individuals); Filing
No. 33-2 at 20 (identifying class of 216 individuals).]
February 1, 2018, Mr. Taylor brought suit on behalf of
himself and others who received the same dunning letter,
alleging that the letter he received from Defendants failed
to effectively identify the current creditor, in violation of
the FDCPA. [Filing No. 1.] On June 1, 2018, Mr.
Taylor filed his Motion for Class Certification. [Filing
No. 32.] Mr. Taylor's Motion is fully briefed, and
the issue of class certification is ripe for determination.
Taylor seeks to certify the following class:
[A]ll persons similarly situated in the State of Indiana from
whom Defendants attempted to collect a defaulted consumer
debt allegedly owed for a Springleaf Financial Services
account, via the same form collection letter that Defendants
sent to Plaintiff, from one year before the date of this
Complaint [February 1, 2017] to the present.
[Filing No. 32 at 4 (docket citation omitted).] In
support, Mr. Taylor argues that this case satisfies the
requirements of Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 23(a) and
(b)(3), such that resolution of his claim on a class-wide
basis is appropriate. [Filing No. 33.]
actions serve an important purpose in modern civil
litigation. As the Seventh Circuit has explained:
The class action is an ingenious procedural innovation that
enables persons who have suffered a wrongful injury, but are
too numerous for joinder of their claims alleging the same
wrong committed by the same defendant or defendants to be
feasible, to obtain relief as a group, a class as it is
called. The device is especially important when each claim is
too small to justify the expense of a separate suit, so that
without a class action there would be no relief, however
meritorious the claims.
Eubank v. Pella Corp., 753 F.3d 718, 719 (7th Cir.
2014). In order to maintain a class action, the proponent
must satisfy the requirements of Rule 23. In evaluating
whether a class should be certified, the Court may not merely
accept as true the allegations of the complaint, but instead
must “make whatever factual and legal inquiries are
necessary” to resolve contested issues. Szabo v.
Bridgeport Machs., Inc., 249 F.3d 672, 676 (7th Cir.
2001). First, the named plaintiff must demonstrate that the
putative class satisfies all four prerequisites set forth in
[A member of a class may sue] on behalf of all members only
(1) the class is so numerous that joinder of all members is
(2) there are questions of law or fact common to the class;
(3) the claims or defenses of the representative parties are
typical of the claims or ...