United States District Court, D. Colorado
ORDER ON MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
Brooke Jackson United States District Judge.
matter is before the Court on defendant Wakefield's
motion for summary judgment. ECF No. 21. For the reasons
stated below the Court GRANTS in part and DENIES in part
a Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) case. Wakefield
is a debt collector that was collecting two consumer debts
from plaintiff Pamela Pittman: a medical bill from Pueblo
Pathology Group and an electric bill from San Isabel
Electric. ECF No. 1 at 2; ECF No. 21 at 1. Wakefield began
reporting the medical debt on Ms. Pittman's credit report
in November 2014. ECF No. 21 at 2. Ms. Pittman alleges that
she disputed this debt with Wakefield by sending a dispute
letter dated March 3, 2016 via fax. ECF No. 1 at 2. Upon
examination of her credit report in May 2016, Ms. Pittman
found that Wakefield had re-reported the medical debt in May
2016 and had failed to list the account as “disputed by
customer” despite being required to do so by the FDCPA.
Id. Again in September 2016 Ms. Pittman found that
Wakefield had re-reported the medical debt in June 2016
without marking it as disputed. Id. at 2-3.
contends that it did not receive Ms. Pittman's March 3,
2016 dispute letter related to the medical debt, but instead
that it only received a demand letter related to this debt on
June 17, 2016. ECF No. 21 at 2. This June 2016 demand letter,
however, referenced Ms. Pittman's March 3, 2016 dispute
letter. ECF No. 21-1 at 17. Wakefield stopped reporting both
the medical and electric debts on July 4, 2016. ECF No. 21 at
2. Wakefield received an additional dispute letter about the
electric bill on July 27, 2016. Id.
Pittman filed suit in November 2016, alleging that Wakefield
had violated various provisions of the FDCPA, including 15
U.S.C. §§ 1692d, 1692e(2), 1692e(5), 1692e(8),
1692e(10), and 1692f. ECF No. 1 at 3. Section 1629d of the
FDCPA prohibits debt collectors from harassing, oppressing,
or abusing “any person in connection with the
collection of a debt.” 15 U.S.C. § 1692d. As
relevant here, section 1692e(2) prohibits debt collectors
from falsely representing “the character, amount, or
legal status” of a debt; section 1692e(5) prohibits
them from threatening to take an action they cannot legally
take; section 1692e(8) prohibits them from communicating
false information, “including the failure to
communicate that a disputed debt is disputed;” and
section 1692e(10) prohibits them from using false
representations to collect debts. Id. § 1692e.
Section 1692f prohibits debt collectors from using unfair or
unconscionable means to collect debts. Id. §
Pittman's complaint did not specify whether she was
bringing her claims with respect to the medical debt or the
electric debt, but she clarified in her opposition to
Wakefield's motion for summary judgment that her dispute
was with respect to the medical debt only. ECF No. 24 at 2.
Thus, her central argument is that Wakefield violated the
FDCPA by failing to mark the medical debt as
“disputed” after she disputed it on March 3,
2016. Id. at 11.
Pittman provided Wakefield with her Rule 26(a)(1) initial
disclosures via email on January 12, 2017, in which she both
referenced and attached a copy of her March 3, 2016 dispute
letter. ECF No. 24 at 5; ECF No. 24-3 at 2-3. Wakefield
served Ms. Pittman with its discovery requests on January 20,
2017, and Ms. Pittman received them on January 27, 2017. ECF
No. 21 at 5. The following requests for admissions were
a. Admit that you did not send a dispute letter to Defendant
on March 3, 2016.
b. Admit that you did send a dispute letter to Defendant on
July 27, 2016.
c. Admit that the dispute letter you sent on July 27, 2016
was the only dispute letter you sent to Defendant.
d. Admit that you have no evidence you suffered any actual
damages as a result of Defendant's alleged conduct.
e. Admit that you have no documented evidence that you
suffered any actual damages as a result of ...