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Sebestyn v. Leikin, Ingber & Winters P.C.

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

June 19, 2018

CAROLYN SEBESTYEN, Plaintiff,
v.
LEIKIN, INGBER, & WINTERS, P.C., and PAUL M. INGBER, Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS [43], FINDING MOOT PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO CERTIFY CLASS [42], AND DISMISSING

          STEPHEN J. MURPHY, III UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         THE CASE

         Five years ago, Plaintiff Carolyn Sebestyen received a letter that she claims violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Defendants moved to dismiss and Sebestyen moved to certify a class. The Court, Judge Patrick Duggan, resolved the motions and after a trip to and from the Sixth Circuit, Sebestyen and the Defendants are back with the same motions-but different arguments. For the reasons below, the Court will dismiss the case for lack of jurisdiction.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Defendants simultaneously move to dismiss the case under Rule 12(b)(1) and for summary judgment under Rule 56. See ECF 43, PgID 346. The sole basis of Defendants' Rule 12 motion is factual: they contend that Plaintiff has not pled an injury in fact and thus has not carried her burden to establish standing. Accordingly, when the Court reviews the argument it is empowered to consider "evidence outside of the pleadings, and has the power to weigh the evidence and determine the effect of that evidence on the court's authority to hear the case." Cartwright v. Garner, 751 F.3d 752, 759-60 (6th Cir. 2014).

         BACKGROUND

         Sebestyen racked up some medical bills from Beaumont Hospital and, in January 2013, she received a letter about them. The letterhead identified the law firm of Leikin, Ingber & Winters, P.C. ("Leikin") and it bore Paul Ingber's signature. The letter began with the following caption:

Re: WILLIAM BEAUMONT, a Michigan Non-Profit Corp.
Past Due Amount: $6, 839.35
Our File No. 3-328969

ECF 1, PgID 3-4; ECF 42-2. The letter explained that Beaumont retained Leikin to obtain payment from Sebestyen and it directed Sebestyen to mail her payment to Ingber's attention. The letter stated that if Sebestyen felt her insurance company was responsible for the payment being sought, it was her obligation to contact her insurance company. The letter recited the language that forms the matter in dispute:

This debt will be assumed to be valid unless you dispute the validity of the debt or any portion thereof, within 30 days after you receive this letter. If you notify this office, in writing, within said 30 day period that you dispute all or any portion of the debt, I will then obtain verification of the indebtedness and forward a copy of such verification to you. Any information which you may provide to this office will be used to recover this indebtedness or resolve the matter as the case may be.
If I do not hear from you, it will be assumed that you do not intend to settle this account voluntarily and appropriate action will be taken.
This communication is an attempt to collect a debt and any information obtained will be ...

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