United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, New Albany Division
ENTRY ON ENHANCED RECOVERY COMPANY'S MOTION FOR
RICHARD L. YOUNG, JUDGE
Tonya Jones is to be believed, Enhanced Recovery Company
called her at least 170 times over the course of 168 days to
collect an outstanding debt. Jones requested that ERC stop
calling her at least fifty times, and she informed ERC on at
least one occasion that she was homeless and could not pay
the debt. To make matters worse, during one of these
conversations, an ERC representative directed an expletive at
Jones after she told ERC to stop calling her. Now, that might
not be what actually happened, but at summary judgment, the
court construes the evidence in the light most favorable to
Jones. And on that evidence, a jury could find that ERC
violated the Fair Debt Collection Practice Act's
proscription against harassment and abusive conduct.
See 15 U.S.C. § 1692d.
point in 2013 or 2014, Jones fell behind on payments for her
T-Mobile account. (Filing No. 49-1, Deposition of Tonya Jones
(“Jones Dep.”) at 17:13 - 18; 20:4 - 6). Several
years later, on May 23, 2017, T-Mobile retained ERC to
collect the delinquent debt from Jones's account.
(Id. at 23:9 - 20; see also Filing No.
44-1, Declaration of Rocky Landoll (“Landoll
Dec.”) ¶ 6). ERC is a debt collection company.
(Landoll Dec. ¶ 2).
May 24, 2017 through November 8, 2017, ERC called Jones to
collect the debt from her T-Mobile account. (Id.
¶ 11; see also Filing No. 44-2, ERC Account
Notes at 3 - 6). ERC placed at least 170 calls to Jones's
cell phone over the course of 168 days. (ERC Account Notes 3
- 6; see also Jones Dep. 28:15 - 21). Jones spoke
with ERC representatives over fifty times and told them each
time to place her on the do-not-call list. (Jones Dep. 29:1 -
5). Jones remembers one time speaking with an ERC
representative and getting called an expletive because she
told him she could not pay the debt. (Id. at 50:16 -
51:3). She recalls another time being confused because the
representative identified ERC as “account
receivable” when Jones asked who was calling.
(Id. at 71:25 - 73:12). Jones felt harassed by
ERC's collection efforts-particularly when Jones informed
ERC she was homeless, yet ERC continued collection efforts a
few days later. (Id. at 18:15 - 19:1; 37:3 - 13).
filed a complaint on December 13, 2017. (Filing No. 1). She
alleged violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act
(“TCPA”), 47 U.S.C. § 227, and the Fair Debt
Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”), 15 U.S.C.
§§ 1692, et seq. After Jones dismissed her
TCPA claims with prejudice, ERC filed a motion for summary
judgment on her remaining FDCPA claims. (Filing Nos. 40, 43).
The motion is fully briefed and ripe for a decision.
judgment is appropriate when “there is no genuine
dispute as to any material fact” and the moving party
“is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); Burton v. Kohn Law Firm, S.C.,
934 F.3d 572, 578 (7th Cir. 2019). The court views and draws
all reasonable inferences from the evidence in the non-moving
party's favor. Lavallee v. Med-1 Solutions, LLC,
932 F.3d 1049, 1054 (7th Cir. 2019). A genuine dispute over
the facts exists where a jury could return a verdict for the
non-moving party. Burton, 934 F.3d at 579.
moves for summary judgment on all of Jones's claims under
the FDCPA. Jones concedes that summary judgment is
appropriate on her claims under Sections 1692c(a)(1), 1692f,
and 1692f(1), and so the court grants summary judgment to ERC
on those claims. (See Filing No. 49, Jones's
Response at 1). Jones disputes, however, whether summary
judgment is appropriate on the rest of her claims.
passed the FDCPA to “eliminate the many evils
associated with debt collection.” Bentrud v.
Bowman, Heintz, Boscia & Vician, P.C., 794 F.3d 871,
874 (7th Cir. 2015). Among these are harassment and
misleading communications. See 15 U.S.C.
§§ 1692d (harassment generally); 1692d(2) (obscene
language); 1692d(5) (harassing communications); and 1692d(6)
(telephone calls without meaningful disclosures). The FDCPA
is a remedial statute, and so the court construes it broadly
in favor of consumer and debtors. See Rosenau v. Unifund
Corp., 539 F.3d 218, 221 (3d Cir. 2008) (citation
omitted) (FDCPA is remedial statute and should be construed
broadly); Johnson v. Riddle, 305 F.3d 1107, 1117
(10th Cir. 2002) (FDCPA should be construed liberally in
favor of consumers).
1692d generally forbids debt collectors from engaging in
harassing or abusive behavior when collecting a debt.
See 15 U.S.C. § 1692d; see also Horkey v.
J.V.D.B. & Associates, Inc., 333 F.3d 769, 773 (7th
Cir. 2003). Section 1692d also specifically identifies
certain conduct that amounts to harassment or abuse:
(2) The use of obscene or profane language or language the
natural consequence of which is to abuse the ...