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Neff v. Schlee & Stillman, LLC

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

March 21, 2017

Steven Neff, Plaintiff,
v.
Schlee & Stillman, LLC, and LVNV Funding, LLC, Defendants.

          Mona K. Majzoub Mag. Judge.

          OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR JUDGMENT ON THE PLEADINGS [24]

          JUDITH E. LEVY United States District Judge.

         Before the Court is plaintiff Steven Neff's motion for judgment on the pleadings. (Dkt. 24.) Plaintiff seeks judgment on the sole remaining count against defendants Schlee & Stillman, LLC, and LVNV Funding, LLC.

         For the reasons set forth below, plaintiff's motion is granted.

         I. Background

         Plaintiff Steven Neff is an individual alleging he has a debt obligation arising from his Credit One Bank credit card, which was used “primarily for personal, family, or household purposes.” (Dkt. 1 at 4.) He alleges defendant LVNV Funding, LLC acquired the debt after plaintiff defaulted on his obligations to pay off the debt, and LVNV Funding, LLC then hired defendant Schlee & Stillman, LLC to collect the debt. (Id. at 4.)

         On September 25, 2015, Schlee & Stillman, LLC sent plaintiff a letter, informing plaintiff the letter was “an attempt by a debt collector to collect a debt.” (Dkt. 1-1 at 2.) The letter was titled “Re: LVNV Funding LLC Assignee of Credit One Bank, N.A.” (Id.)

         After receiving this letter, plaintiff filed a complaint against defendants for alleged violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”). (Dkt. 1.) Defendants filed a motion to dismiss all counts. (Dkt. 5.)

         On August 12, 2016, the Court granted in part and denied in part defendants' motion to dismiss. (Dkt. 12.) Plaintiff was permitted to proceed with Count One, which alleged defendants violated 15 U.S.C. § 1692g(a)(2) of the FDCPA by failing to effectively provide the name of the creditor to whom the debt was owed in the September 25, 2015 letter. (Id.) On October 21, 2016, plaintiff filed this motion for judgment on the pleadings. (Dkt. 24.)

         II. Legal Standard

         “The standard of review for a Rule 12(c) motion is the same as for a motion under Rule 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.” Fritz v. Charter Twp. of Comstock, 592 F.3d 718, 722 (6th Cir. 2010). “For purposes of a motion for judgment on the pleadings, all well-pleaded material allegations of the pleadings of the opposing party must be taken as true, and the motion may be granted only if the moving party is nevertheless clearly entitled to judgment.” Id. (quoting JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. v. Winget, 510 F.3d 577, 581 (6th Cir. 2007)).

         III. Analysis

         Plaintiff argues he is entitled to judgment on the pleadings because there is no dispute that the name of the creditor, Credit One Bank, was not effectively provided in the letter received from defendants, and because the Court already decided the issue in its order granting in part and denying in part defendants' motion to dismiss. (Dkt. 24 at 3-5.) Defendants argue that whether the creditor was adequately identified is a question of fact for the jury to decide, and that plaintiff has not proven-and defendant denies-that plaintiff qualifies as a consumer, that the debt arose out of a consumer transaction, and that defendant LVNV Funding, LLC was a debt collector as defined by the FDCPA. (Dkt. 26 at 1-2.)

         As an initial matter, defendants argue that they do “not admit” plaintiff is a consumer, that the debt arose from a consumer transaction, or that LVNV Funding, LLC is a debt collector. (Dkt. 26 at 2.) The argument is based on their answer to the complaint. For each of these three arguments, defendants wrote in the ...


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