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Liang v. Mary Jane M. Elliott

October 8, 2008

GAO LIANG, ON BEHALF OF HIMSELF AND ALL SIMILARLY SITUATED PERSONS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MARY JANE M. ELLIOTT, P.C., DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable Patrick J. Duggan

OPINION AND ORDER

At a session of said Court, held in the U.S. District Courthouse, Eastern District of Michigan, on_October 8, 2008.

Gao Liang ("Plaintiff") initiated this action, on behalf of himself and similarly situated individuals, against Mary Jane M. Elliott, P.C. ("Defendant"), alleging violations the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act ("FDCPA"), 15 U.S.C. § 1692 et seq. Presently before this Court is Defendant's "Motion to Dismiss and Motion for Summary Judgment." Defendant's motion has been fully briefed, and the Court heard oral argument on Defendant's motion on October 2, 2008.

I. Factual Background

The following facts are undisputed. Plaintiff is an individual who resides in Livonia, Michigan. Also located in Michigan, Defendant "is a collection law firm that participates in the collection process from the initial collection letter all the way through the collection suit process, if necessary." (Dft.'s Mot. Ex. A, Mary Jane M. Elliott Affidavit ("Elliott Aff.") ¶ 2.)

Plaintiff allegedly owes money on a credit card account he opened with Capital One Bank (USA), N.A. As of April 1, 2008, the amount due on this account was $6,107.80. Capital One retained Defendant to collect this $6,107.80 debt. According to Defendant's managing partner, Mary Jane M. Elliott, Defendant conducted an independent review and investigation into this alleged debt after it began representing Capital One in Plaintiff's collection matter.

On February 6, 2006, Defendant sent Plaintiff a collection or dunning letter. This letter was addressed to Plaintiff and bore the letterhead "Mary Jane M. Elliott P.C., Attorneys & Counselors, 4300 Karim Blvd., Novi MI 48375" in the top left-hand margin. (Dft.'s Mot. Ex. B (emphasis in original).) The upper right-hand corner of the letter stated "NOTICE OF AMOUNT," listing Capital One as the creditor as well as the account number. (Id.) Below this, the letter provided that $6,107.80 was due and that this amount may accrue interest; Plaintiff was also instructed to make checks payable to "Mary Jane M. Elliott, P.C., 24300 Karim Blvd, Nov MI 48375." (Id.) The text of the letter, in its entirety, is as follows:

This communication is form a debt collector. This is an attempt to collect a debt and any information obtained will be used for that purpose.

Please contact this office if you wish to pay this debt or set up payment arrangements to avoid any legal action being taken. Unless you dispute this debt, or any portion of it, within 30 days after you receive this notice, we will assume that it is valid.

If you notify us in writing within the 30 day period that you dispute this debt or any portion of it, we will obtain verification of the debt or a copy of any judgment and mail it to you.

If the above creditor is not your original creditor and you submit a written request within the 30 day period for the name and address of the original creditor, we will supply such information to you.

If you do dispute this debt in writing in the 30 day period, we will pend collection until we send you verification. (Id.) The letter, although unsigned, closed with the following signature block:

Sincerely, [Blank Space]

Mary Jane M. ...


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