United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION & ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S PARTIAL
MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
F. Cox United States District Judge
action is brought pursuant to the Fair Debt Collection
Practices Act (“FDCPA”) and the Michigan
Collection Practices Act (“MCPA”). Currently
before the Court is Defendant's “Partial Motion for
Summary Judgment.” (Doc. #13, Def.'s Br.).
Defendant argues that the bona fide error defense applies to
this case and precludes liability as to the FDCPA violations
alleged by Plaintiff. Plaintiff opposes the motion. (Doc. #
18, Pl.'s Resp.).
Court finds that the issues have been adequately presented in
the parties' briefs and that oral argument would not
significantly aid in the decisional process. See
E.D. Mich. LR 7.1(f). The Court therefore orders that the
motion will be decided upon the briefs. For the reasons set
forth below, the Court shall GRANT
action arises out of Plaintiff Jessica Csircsu's
(“Plaintiff”) failure to pay a balance and
Defendants' efforts to collect on the defaulted balance.
The following facts, taken in a light most favorable to
Plaintiff, are relatively straight forward and undisputed by
Williams & Fudge, Inc. (“Defendant”) is a
corporation that specializes in the recovery of accounts
associated with colleges and universities. (Doc. # 14,
Def.'s Stmt. at ¶ 3; Doc. # 19, Pl.'s Stmt. at
¶ 3). When an account is placed with Defendant, it is
Defendant's policy and procedure to link that account to
consumers via the consumer's social security number.
(Def.'s Stmt. at ¶ 11; Pl.'s Stmt. at ¶
31, 2011, an account for Plaintiff Jessica Csircsu was placed
for collection with Defendant by Education Management II, LLC
(“EMII”). The account stated that Plaintiff owed
a debt to the Art Institute of Michigan. (Id.). When
Plaintiff's account was placed, EMII indicated that the
social security number associated with the consumer began
with “372.” (Def.'s Stmt. at ¶ 4;
Pl.'s Stmt. at ¶ 4).
about March 13, 2012, Defendant sent a collection notice to
Plaintiff. (Def.'s Stmt. at ¶ 5; Pl.'s Stmt. at
¶ 5). Plaintiff responded to Defendant by sending two
letters, dated March 22, 2012, disputing the debt and
requesting Defendant to cease all communication and
collection efforts. (Def.'s Stmt. at ¶ 6; Pl.'s
Stmt. at ¶ 6).
received Plaintiff's letters on March 26, 2012 via
facsimile and on March 27, 2016 via first class mail.
(Def.'s Stmt. at ¶ 7; Pl.'s Stmt. at ¶ 7;
Def.'s Ex. 1 at ¶ 12). Upon receipt, Defendant made
a notation on Plaintiff's account which reflected an
account status code change from “40" (active
collections) to “46" (cease and desist or no
contact). (Def.'s Stmt. at ¶ 7; Pl.'s Stmt. at
¶ 7; Def.'s Ex. 1 at ¶ 12). Defendant
subsequently ceased all collection efforts on Plaintiff's
account. (Def.'s Stmt. at ¶ 7; Pl.'s Stmt. at
about July 7, 2015, EMII placed Plaintiff's account with
Defendant for collection again. (Def.'s Stmt. at ¶
9; Pl.'s Stmt. at ¶ 9). When EMII placed the account
with Defendant for the second time, EMII listed
Plaintiff's social security number as beginning with
“373.” (Def.'s Stmt. at ¶ 10; Pl.'s
Stmt. at ¶ 10). Because EMII provided a different social
security number when it placed the account, Defendant's
system treated the account as “newly placed” and
associated it with a new consumer. (Def.'s Ex. 1 at
about July 8, 2015, Defendant sent a collection notice to
Plaintiff. (Def.'s Stmt. at ¶ 13; Pl.'s Stmt. at
¶ 13). Plaintiff responded by sending two letters, dated
July 30, 2015, disputing the debt and requesting Defendant to
cease all communication and collection efforts. (Def.'s
Stmt. at ¶ 14; Pl.'s Stmt. at ¶ 14). Defendant
received Plaintiff's letters on August 7, 2015.
(Def.'s Stmt. at ¶ 15; Pl.'s Stmt. at ¶
15). Defendant subsequently adjusted Plaintiff's account
code to cease collection efforts and it ceased collecting on
the account. (Def.'s Stmt. at ¶ 15; Pl.'s Stmt.
at ¶ 15).
originally brought this case in the General Court for the
21st Judicial District in Wayne County, Michigan.
On October 28, 2015, Defendant removed this action on the
basis of federal question jurisdiction. (Doc. #1).
complaint asserts claims under the FDCPA (Count I) and the
MCPA (Count II). Plaintiff specifically alleges that
Defendant violated the following provisions of the FDCPA: 15
U.S.C. § 1692e(2)(A); 15 U.S.C. § 1692c(c); and 15
U.S.C. § 1692g(b). Plaintiff alleges that Defendant
violated the following provisions of the MCPA: M.C.L. §
445.525(e); and M.C.L. § 445.252(q). Plaintiff seeks
actual, statutory and treble damages along with statutory
costs and attorney fees.
filed the instant partial motion for summary judgment on
August 15, 2016. (Def.'s Br.). In it, Defendant argues
that it is entitled to the bona fide error defense
and is ...