United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
PAULA RHODES individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
ENHANCED RECOVERY COMPANY, LLC a Delaware limited liability company, Defendant.
ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR CLASS
EVANS BARKER, JUDGE
cause is now before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion for
Class Certification [Docket No. 32], filed on June 4, 2018,
pursuant to Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
Plaintiff Paula Rhodes filed this purported class action on
behalf of herself and all those similarly situated alleging
that Defendant Enhanced Recovery Company, LLC violated
various provisions of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
(“FDCPA”), 15 U.S.C. § 1692, et
seq., through the sending of a form debt collection
letter that failed to properly identify the original creditor
as well as the creditor to whom the debt was then owed. For
the reasons detailed below, we GRANT Plaintiff's
Motion for Class Certification.
sent Ms. Rhodes an initial form collection letter dated June
28, 2017, which provided that the company's records
“indicate that your balance with Kohl's Department
Stores, Inc. remains unpaid.” Exh. C to Compl. The
collection letter identified the “Original
Creditor” as “Kohl's Department Store,
Inc.” and the “Creditor” as “Chase
Bank USA N.A.” Id. The letter did not explain
the difference, if any, between the “original
creditor” and the “creditor, ” nor did it
identify which creditor it was representing. See id.
Ms. Rhodes alleges that Kohl's was never in fact the
original creditor, nor was Chase Bank the creditor to whom
the debt was then owed. Rather, both the “original
creditor” and the “creditor” should have
been identified as Capital One.
November 16, 2017, Ms. Rhodes filed her putative class action
complaint in this court, alleging that Defendant's form
collection letter violated various provisions of the FDCPA.
Ms. Rhodes moved for class certification on June 4, 2018,
requesting that the court certify a class with the following
[A]ll persons similarly situated in the State of Indiana from
whom Defendant attempted to collect a defaulted consumer
debt, via the same for[m] collection letter that Defendant
sent to Plaintiff, which identified the
“creditor” as “Kohl's Department Store,
Inc.” and the “original creditor” as
“Chase Bank USA, N.A., ” when the creditor was
actually Capital One , from one year before the date of the
initial Complaint  to the present.
Pl.'s Mem. at 4.
Applicable FDCPA Provisions
Rhodes's class action claim arises under the FDCPA. The
FDCPA was enacted to address “abusive, deceptive, and
unfair debt collection practices.” 15 U.S.C. §
1692. Relevant to this case are § 1692e of the FDCPA,
which regulates the use of false or misleading information in
collection notices, § 1692g of the Act, which governs a
debt collector's “initial communication with a
consumer in connection with the collection of any debt,
” and § 1692f of the FDCPA, which regulates the
use of unfair or unconscionable collection actions. Ms.
Rhodes has brought her suit pursuant to the FDCPA, on behalf
of herself and a proposed class of similarly situated
individuals, alleging that Defendant's form collection
letter violated the Act by misidentifying the name of the
original creditor as well as the creditor to whom the debt
was then owed. She is seeking recovery for “statutory
damages, costs, and reasonable attorneys' fees as
provided by § 1692k(a) of the FDCPA.” Compl. at 7.
Rule 23 Standard
23 sets out four threshold requirements for certification of
a class action. A district court may certify a class only if:
“(1) the class is so numerous that joinder of all
members is impracticable; (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 defenses
of the class; and (4) the representative parties will fairly
and adequately protect the interests of the class.”
Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 23(a). In addition, a class action is
appropriate only when at least one of the following factors
is present: there is a risk that prosecuting the matter in
separate actions will create incompatible standards of
conduct binding the defendant; adjudication of separate
individual claims would prejudice the interests of potential
parties not joined to the suit; the defendant has acted or
refused to act on grounds that apply generally to the
putative class; or the court finds that “questions of
law or fact common to class members predominate over any
questions affecting only individual members, and that a class
action is superior to other available methods for fairly and
efficiently adjudicating the controversy.” Fed. R. Civ.
Pro. 23(b). Finally, the class must be “identifiable as
a class, ” meaning that the “class definition
must be definite enough that the class can be
ascertained.” Oshana v. Coca-Cola Co., 472
F.3d 506, 513 (7th Cir. 2006) (citation omitted).