United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
WILLIAM S. COOPER, Plaintiff,
PORTFOLIO RECOVERY ASSOCIATES, LLC, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION
FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT, (DOC. 9) AND DENYING PLAINTIFF'S
MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (DOC.
COHN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
a Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”),
15 U.S.C. § 1692 et seq., case. Plaintiff
William Cooper (“Cooper”), a Michigan resident,
is suing Defendant Portfolio Recovery Associates, LLC
(“PRA”), a Virginia company, for attempting to
collect a debt from him in a manner that violated the FDCPA,
the Michigan Occupational Code (“MOC”), M.C.L.
§339.915(e), the Michigan Collection Practices Act
(“MCPA”), M.C.L. § 445.251 et seq.,
and Michigan tort law. Cooper seeks actual damages, FDCPA
statutory damages of $1000, the greater of MOC treble damages
or $150, damages for fraud, costs and attorney's fees,
and punitive damages in excess of $10, 000, 000.
moved for summary judgment or dismissal (Doc. 9), to which
Cooper has responded and cross-motioned for summary judgment
on liability (Doc. 19). Along with its motion for summary
judgment, PRA filed a statement of material facts not in
dispute (Doc. 10). Cooper did not file a response statement
of facts, so PRA independently filed a joint statement of
material facts not in dispute (Doc. 22). This document does
not represent a concurrence between the parties, but only
reflects the facts that PRA says Cooper did not refute in his
other papers. Just before oral argument, Cooper filed a
response statement of facts (Doc. 26).
reasons that follow, PRAs motion for summary judgment is
GRANTED, and Cooper's motion for summary judgment is
Initial Contact and First Verification Request
13, 2015, Cooper received a debt collection letter from PRA
indicating that Cooper owed $3, 177.19 to PRA (Doc. 1,
Exhibit 1). The letter named U.S. Bank National Association
(“U.S. Bank”) as the original creditor. Cooper
wrote to PRA in response requesting that PRA verify the debt
through various means, including by providing a copy of the
written agreement that created the obligation between Cooper
and U.S. Bank (Doc. 1, Exhibit 2).
August 10, 2015, PRA responded to Cooper by letter with
verification information including:
. Cooper's first and last name, middle
initial, and suffix “2”;
. The last four digits of Cooper's
social security number;
. Account number ending in 0104;
. Name of the original creditor as U.S.
. Date the account was opened with U.S. Bank
as January 1, 2008;
. Date of sale of the account from U.S. Bank
to PRA as June 17, 2015;
. Balance at time of sale as $3, 177.19; and
. A statement that no interest or fees had
been charged since the date of sale.
(Doc. 10, Exhibit 2). The letter stated that Cooper should
contact PRA if he wanted to receive a history of payments
that had been made since PRA acquired the account. The letter
did not include a copy of the original agreement between
Cooper and U.S. Bank as Cooper requested in his first
response letter (Doc. 1, Exhibit 2). It did, however, include
an identity theft affidavit that Cooper could have completed
and returned in order to dispute that the debt belonged to
him. Cooper says he did not return this affidavit because he
did not want to provide personal information to PRA without
further assurance of PRAs trustworthiness and the validity of
the debt (Doc. 19 at 10).
Second Verification Request
same day, Cooper sent PRA a second letter requesting
verification of the $3, 177.19 debt (Doc. 1, Exhibit
This letter stated that PRA had contacted Cooper by phone
three times regarding the debt since receiving his request
for verification on July 27, 2015, which Cooper specifically
claimed was a violation of the FDCPA Cooper requested that PRA
not call him again before verifying the debt. Cooper then
listed the methods by which PRA should verify the debt, many
of which were the same as in Cooper's first response
letter except that he bolded and underlined requests for a
copy of the original U.S. Bank agreement and a copy of the
last billing statement that U.S. Bank sent to him.
sent a letter to Cooper three days later, stating that the
investigation of the dispute was complete and enclosing three
Comerica Bank credit card statements as additional
verification of the debt (Doc. 10, Exhibit 3). The first
statement, dated April 2013, displayed a payment of $52.00.
The second statement, dated January 2014, displayed a total
balance of $3, 177.19. The third statement, dated February
2014, displayed that the account was being charged off.
PRA's letter did not explain the connection between
Comerica Bank and U.S. Bank.
August 20, 2015, PRA sent Cooper two letters. The first was a
verification letter (Doc. 10, Exhibit 4) identical to the
verification letter PRA sent on August 10, 2015 (Doc. 10,
Exhibit 2). The second was a letter stating that because PRA
had already responded to “a previous dispute
substantially the same as your present dispute, ” it
would conduct no further investigation into Cooper's
dispute (Doc. 1, Exhibit 6-2).
Third Verification Request
afterward, Cooper sent a letter to PRA requesting
verification of the debt for the third time, stating that the
information PRA had provided in its previous responses was
insufficient to prove the validity of the debt (Doc. 1,
Exhibit 5). Cooper emphasized that the only sufficient proof
would be a copy of the original U.S. Bank contract that
created the debt and one year of credit card statements.
15, 2016, PRA sent to Cooper a letter (Doc. 1, Exhibit 6-1)
identical to one sent on August 20, 2015 (Doc. 1, Exhibit
6-2), stating that PRA would not respond to a dispute that it
September 8, 2015, and August 16, 2016, PRA shared
information regarding the debt with credit reporting agencies
TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. Each time it shared the
information, PRA included a designation indicating that
Cooper disputed the debt (Doc. 23, Exhibit 6). On August 16,
2016, PRA requested that the information be deleted from
Cooper's credit report (Id. at ¶ 22).
filed a complaint on August 15, 2016 (Doc. 1) with
allegations as described above.
judgment will be granted if the moving party demonstrates
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). There is no genuine issue of
material fact when “the record taken as a whole could
not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the non-moving
party.” Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio
Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986). The Court must decide
“whether the evidence presents a sufficient
disagreement to require submission to a jury or whether it is
so one-sided that one party must prevail as a matter of
law.” In re Dollar Corp., 25 F.3d 1320, 1323
(6th Cir. 1994) (quoting Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 251-52 (1986)). In doing so, the
Court “must view the evidence in the light most
favorable to the non-moving party.” Emp'rs Ins.
of Wausau v. Petrol. Specialties, Inc., 69 F.3d 98, 101
(6th Cir. 1995).