United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTIONS
FOR JUDGMENT ON THE PLEADINGS
F. COX UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
2017, Defendant Cavalry SPV I, LLC sued three individuals in
state-court, seeking to collect on debts they allegedly owed
to Citibank that Cavalry had purchased in bulk. In turn,
those individuals have now sued Cavalry, its servicing arm,
and its attorneys, alleging that the debt-collection suits
were false and deceptive, in violation of the Fair Debt
Collection Practices Act, the Regulation of Michigan
Collection Practices Act, and the Michigan Occupational Code.
Defendants have moved for judgment on the pleadings.
reasons below, the Court shall grant Defendants' motions.
Although Plaintiffs' complaint contends that the
state-court debt-collection suits were the product of
falsehoods and misrepresentations, they have failed to offer
any well-pleaded factual allegations, rather than
conclusory allegations and legal conclusions, to allow the
Court to reasonably infer that Defendants violated the FDCPA.
a debt-collection dispute between several parties.
Plaintiffs-Jil Gordon, Marcy Goyette, and Wendell
Schuemann-are all Michigan residents. Complaint, ¶ 11.
They have sued four Defendants-Cavalry SPV I, LLC, its
servicing arm Cavalry Portfolio Services, LLC, law firm
collection agency Roosen, Varchetti & Olivier, PLLC, and
one of the firm's partners, Richard Roosen. Id.
at ¶¶ 12-15. Plaintiffs generally allege that
Defendants are mutually engaged in the filing of false
collection lawsuits for false amounts against Michigan
debtors. Id. at ¶ 2.
specifically, Plaintiffs allege that Calvary's principal
business is the collection of debts. Id. at ¶
47. To this end, it purchased a large portfolio of defaulted
debt from Citibank. Id. When Calvary makes a
purchase such as this one, it receives a computerized summary
of the debts included in the portfolio, although the purchase
agreements disavow responsibility for the accuracy of the
included data. Id. at ¶ 51. Plaintiffs allege
that this information that Cavalry receives is insufficient
to establish the validity of the debts Plaintiffs purportedly
owe, the calculation of the claimed balance, or that they, as
the consumers, even owe the debt. Id. at ¶ 53.
this deficiency, when Cavalry receives the debt portfolio, it
then provides the information to Michigan attorneys, such as
the Roosen firm, to file lawsuits to collect on the debts.
Id. at ¶ 49, 53. The full and complete
purchase/sale agreements from the debt-portfolio purchase are
never attached to those suits. Id. at ¶ 51. Nor
do the suits include proof that Cavalry is the owner of the
sued-upon debt. Id. at ¶ 54, 64. In fact, the
suits are merely “computer template” collection
suits that lack meaningful attorney review by the attorneys
(Roosen and the Roosen law firm here) that sign them.
Id. Plaintiffs allege that Cavalry's only intent
in filing these suits is to obtain a default. Id. at
three Plaintiffs are parties to debt-collection suits filed
by the Roosen firm on behalf of Cavalry SPV I, LLC.
Complaint, Ex. 1-3. The complaints in those suits were nearly
identical, differing only in the listed account numbers and
the amounts owed. Id. They stated:
1. Defendant(s) entered into a Contract with Plaintiff or
Plaintiff's Assignor, the account/loan number of which
is: [account number], and pursuant to MCR 2.113(F)(1)(b)
Plaintiff's claim is based on a written instrument which
is not attached as it is in the possession of the adverse
2. Defendant(s) defaulted under the terms and conditions of
3. Plaintiff and/or its assignor(s) completed performance
under the terms and conditions of the Contract.
4. That statements were sent to the Defendant(s) detailing
the amount owed on the account and Defendant(s) has failed to
object to said statements.
5. The account has been stated and/or is open between the
6. As a result of Defendant's default Plaintiff claims
breach of contract, open account, account stated, and/or
7. The current claim amount due and owing by Defendant(s) to
Plaintiff is [debt amount] plus interest, costs and attorney
Id. The complaints all requested judgment in the
amount of the debt owed plus allowable costs, attorney fees,
and interest. Id.
complaint was accompanied by several exhibits. First, a bill
of sale of assignment, identical across complaints except for
the listed dates, that stated:
BILL OF SALE AND ASSIGNMENT dated [date], is by Citibank,
N.A., a national banking association organized under the laws
of the United States, located at 701 East 60th Street North,
Sioux Falls, S.D. 57117 (the “Bank”) to Cavalry
SPV I, LLC, organized under the laws of the State of
Delaware, with its headquarters/principal place of business
at 500 Summit Lake Drive, Suite 400, Valhalla, NY 10595
value received and subject to the terms and conditions of the
Purchase and Sale Agreement dated June 22, 2016, between
Buyer and the Bank (the “Agreement”), the Bank
does hereby transfer, sell, assign, convey, grant, bargain,
set over and deliver to Buyer, and to Buyer's ...