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Lassiter v. Integrity Solution Services, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Colorado

March 18, 2014

PHEBE LASSITER, Plaintiff,
v.
INTEGRITY SOLUTION SERVICES, INC., a Missouri corporation, formerly known as Pinnacle Financial Group Incorporated, a Minnesota corporation, Defendant.

ORDER

PHILIP A. BRIMMER, District Judge.

This matter is before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment as to Liability [Docket No. 42] filed by plaintiff Phebe Lassiter. This case arises out of the efforts of defendant Integrity Solution Services, Inc. to collect a debt owed by plaintiff. The Court's jurisdiction is based on 28 U.S.C. § 1331.

I. BACKGROUND

The following facts are undisputed unless otherwise indicated. Plaintiff had an account with Qwest/Centurylink (the "account") that went into default. Docket No. 42 at 2, ¶¶ 1-2; Docket No. 44 at 2, ¶¶ 1-2. Plaintiff testified at her deposition that she used the account strictly for personal purposes. Docket No. 42-2 at 3 (Lassiter dep., at 70, ll.10-25). Defendant is a debt collector within the meaning of 15 U.S.C. § 1692a(6). Docket No. 42 at 2, ¶ 4; Docket No. 44 at 2, ¶ 4. After the account went into default, it was placed with defendant for collection. Docket No. 42 at 2, ¶ 3; Docket No. 44 at 2, ¶ 3.

On November 14, 2012, plaintiff brought a case in this district regarding defendant's collection efforts on the account. Docket No. 42 at 2, ¶ 5; Docket No. 44 at 2, ¶ 5; See Case No. 12-cv-02992-CMA-MJW. Plaintiff alleged that defendant violated the FDCPA by telling plaintiff that the account would remain on her credit record until she paid it off and that she could not dispute the account until it was out of collection status. Case No. 12-cv-02992-CMA-MJW, Complaint [Docket No. 1] at 4, ¶¶ 34, 36. In the complaint, plaintiff requested "that the Defendant cease all further communication on the Account." Docket No. 42 at 3, ¶ 8; Docket No. 44 at 2, ¶ 8; Case No. 12-cv-02992-CMA-MJW, Docket No. 1 at 3, ¶ 23. The complaint was served on defendant on November 14, 2012. Docket No. 42 at 3, ¶ 9; Docket No. 44 at 2, ¶ 9.

Defendant sent plaintiff a letter dated January 25, 2013 regarding the account, which states, in pertinent part:

Creditor Amt Owed CENTURYLINK 231.74
ENCLOSED IS THE DOCUMENTATION YOU REQUESTED REGARDING YOUR PAST DUE ACCOUNT WITH CENTURYLINK.
WE ASK THAT YOU REVIEW THIS MATTER AND REMIT BALANCE DUE IN ORDER TO CLEAR YOUR ACCOUNT....
THIS LETTER IS AN ATTEMPT TO COLLECT A DEBT AND ANY INFORMATION OBTAINED WILL BE USED FOR THAT PURPOSE.
THIS COMMUNICATION IS FROM A DEBT COLLECTOR.

Docket No. 42-1.

Plaintiff testified at her deposition that she did not hire attorney David Larson-the attorney representing her in both actions against defendant-to resolve her debt directly with Qwest/Centurylink. Docket No. 44-2 at 5 (Lassiter dep., at 41, ll.13-18).

Plaintiff brought this case on February 1, 2013, alleging that defendant violated the FDCPA by sending the January 25, 2013 letter. Docket No. 1. Plaintiff seeks summary judgment on defendant's liability under the FDCPA and requests a jury trial on the issue of statutory damages. Docket No. 42 at 12.

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

Summary judgment is warranted under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 when the "movant shows that 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); see Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248-50 (1986). A disputed fact is "material" if under the relevant substantive law it is essential to proper disposition of the claim. Wright v. Abbott Labs., Inc., 259 F.3d 1226, 1231-32 (10th Cir. 2001). Only disputes over material facts can create a genuine issue for trial and preclude summary judgment. Faustin v. City & Cnty. of Denver, 423 F.3d 1192, 1198 (10th Cir. 2005). An issue is ...


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