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Taylor v. Alltran Financial, LP

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

September 19, 2018

EDWARD TAYLOR, Plaintiff,
v.
ALLTRAN FINANCIAL, LP, LVNV FUNDING, LLC, Defendants.

          ENTRY

          Hon. Jane Magnus-Stinson, Chief Judge United States District Court

         Plaintiff Edward Taylor and a class of similarly situated people received a form debt collection letter from Defendant Alltran Financial, LP (“Alltran”). They brought suit under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”), 15 U.S.C. § 1692, et. seq, contending that the letters are unclear as to whether Alltran was collecting on behalf of Defendant LVNV Funding, LLC (“LVNV”) or nonparty Springleaf Financial Services (“Springleaf”). Defendants, Alltran and LVNV, have moved for judgment on the pleadings, arguing that the unsophisticated consumer would not find the dunning letter confusing. [Filing No. 41.] But Defendants' arguments ignore the “distinction between what may confuse a federal judge and an unsophisticated consumer” and the Seventh Circuit's admonition that courts must avoid “reliance on [their] intuitions.” McMahon v. LVNV Funding, LLC, 744 F.3d 1010, 1020 (7th Cir. 2014) (internal quotation omitted). Defendants also gloss over dispositive differences between the cases they cite and the facts of this case. The Court therefore DENIES Defendants' Motion.

         I.

         Legal Standard

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c) permits a party to move for judgment on the pleadings after the filing of the complaint and answer. Moss v. Martin, 473 F.3d 694, 698 (7th Cir. 2007). In ruling on a motion for judgment on the pleadings, the Court may only consider the complaint, answer, and any documents attached thereto as exhibits. See N. Ind. Gun & Outdoor Shows, Inc. v. City of South Bend, 163 F.3d 449, 452-53 (7th Cir. 1998).

         A motion for judgment on the pleadings under Rule 12(c) “is governed by the same standards as a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim under Rule 12(b)(6).” Adams v. City of Indianapolis, 742 F.3d 720, 727-28 (7th Cir. 2014). To survive the motion, “a complaint must ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'” Id. (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). “A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Adams, 742 F.3d at 728 (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)). Factual allegations in the complaint are accepted as true, but allegations that are legal conclusions are insufficient to survive the motion. Adams, 742 F.3d at 728. In other words, to survive dismissal, a plaintiff “must plead some facts that suggest a right to relief that is beyond the speculative level.” Atkins v. City of Chicago, 631 F.3d 823, 832 (7th Cir. 2011).

         II.

         Background

         As recounted in the Court's Order certifying this matter as a class action, [Filing No. 56], this lawsuit arises out of a form dunning letter that Mr. Taylor received from Alltran. [Filing No. 1.] The letter begins, in relevant part, as follows: [Filing No. 1-3 at 1.] The second page of the letter provides the following “Privacy Notice”:

         PRIVACY NOTICE

         This Privacy Notice is being provided on behalf of each of the following related companies (collectively, The "Resurgent Companies"). It describes the general policy of the Resurgent Companies regarding the personal information of customers and former customers.

Resurgent Capital Services L.P

LVNV Funding, LLC

Ashley Funding Services LLC

Sherman Acquisition L.L.C.

PYOD LLC

SFG REO. LLC

Resurgent Capital Services PR LLC

Anson Street LLC

Pinnacle Credit Services, LLC

CACV of Colorado, LLC

CACH, LLC

[Filing No. 1-3 at 2.] Following this list of companies, the Privacy Notice outlines the ways in which the “Resurgent Companies” may collect and share personal information. [Filing No. 1-3 at 2.]

         On February 1, 2018, Mr. Taylor brought suit on his own behalf and on behalf of a class of others who received the same debt collection letter, alleging that the letter fails to effectively identify the current creditor and therefore violates the FDCPA. [Filing No. 1.] On July 27, 2018, Defendants filed their Motion for Judgment on ...


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