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Mitchell-Williams v. Capio Partners, LLC

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

July 26, 2018

SHELIA MITCHELL-WILLIAMS, Plaintiff,
v.
CAPIO PARTNERS, LLC, Defendant.

          OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (DOC. 10)

          GEORGE CARAM STEEH UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This case arises primarily under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”). Defendant, Capio Partners, LLC, attempted to collect a debt from Plaintiff, Shelia Mitchell-Williams. Mitchell-Williams alleges that Defendant violated the FDCPA, the Michigan Collection Practices Act, and the Michigan Occupational Code by failing to communicate to a consumer reporting agency that she disputed the debt. Defendant moves for summary judgment, contending that it did communicate Plaintiff's dispute to the consumer reporting agency. The court is familiar with the case and has determined that it will not be further aided by oral argument. For the reasons stated below, Defendant's motion is GRANTED.

         BACKGROUND FACTS

         Mitchell-Williams failed to pay an alleged debt in the amount of $66.41 owed to Beaumont Health. The debt was placed with Capio for collection on October 21, 2016. Capio reported the debt to credit reporting agencies TransUnion, LLC, and Experian Information Solution Systems, Inc.

         According to Capio's records, it received a letter from Mitchell-Williams dated February 20, 2017, disputing the Beaumont Health debt. See Def.'s Ex. 4 at ¶ 10 (Declaration of Bob Hodges); Def.'s Ex. 5. Capio's records reflect that it sent electronic updates on April 4 and 5, 2017, to Experian and TransUnion indicating that the debt was disputed. Def.'s Ex. 4 at ¶¶ 11-12, Ex. 6, Ex. 7. Bob Hodges, Capio's president, stated in his declaration that Capio did not receive the usual confirmation from TransUnion that it received the electronic update. Def.'s Ex. 4 at ¶ 14. Capio followed up with TransUnion on April 5, 2017. According to Hodges, TransUnion told Capio that the electronic update had failed to upload and that TransUnion had performed the update manually. Id. at ¶15.

         On May 10, 2017, Capio sent another electronic file to TransUnion requesting that the credit reporting agency delete Capio's trade line for Plaintiff's Beaumont Health account. Def.'s Ex. 4 at ¶ 17, Ex. 8. According to Hodges, Capio received an email confirmation that TransUnion received the trade line deletion request. Def.'s Ex. 4 at ¶18, Ex. 9.

         On May 17, 2017, Mitchell-Williams obtained a copy of her credit report from TransUnion. See Pl.'s Ex. 2. The Beaumont Health debt was listed under Capio Partners as “in collection, ” with no mention of the dispute. Plaintiff filed this action on June 27, 2017, alleging that Capio's failure to communicate the dispute to TransUnion violated the FDCPA, the Michigan Collection Practices Act, and the Michigan Occupational Code.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Summary judgment is appropriate if “there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and . . . the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). When reviewing a motion for summary judgment, the court must view the facts in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp, 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986). The court does not “weigh the evidence and determine the truth of the matter” but determines “whether there is a genuine issue for trial.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249 (1986). A genuine issue for trial exists only when there is sufficient “evidence on which the jury could reasonably find for the plaintiff.” Id. at 252. “[T]he mere existence of some alleged factual dispute between the parties will not defeat an otherwise properly supported motion for summary judgment; the requirement is that there be no genuine issue of material fact.” Id. at 247-48 (emphasis in original).

         LAW AND ANALYSIS

         Congress enacted the FDCPA in order to eliminate “the use of abusive, deceptive, and unfair debt collection practices by many debt collectors.” 15 U.S.C. § 1692(a). The FDCPA provides that “any debt collector who fails to comply with any provision of this subchapter with respect to any person is liable to such person” for actual damages suffered plus an additional amount not to exceed $1, 000. 15 U.S.C. § 1692k(a).

         Among other requirements, the FDCPA prohibits debt collectors from “[c]ommunicating or threatening to communicate to any person credit information which is known or which should be known to be false, including the failure to communicate that a disputed debt is disputed.” 15 U.S.C. § 1692e(8). The FDCPA also prohibits the “use of any false representation or deceptive means to collect or attempt to collect any debt.” 15 U.S.C. § 1692e(10).

         Plaintiff alleges that Capio violated §§ 1692e(8) and (10) by failing to communicate to TransUnion that the Beaumont Health debt was disputed. In support of her claim, Plaintiff relies on the credit report she requested from TransUnion on May 17, 2017, which does not indicate that the debt was disputed. Pl.'s Ex. 2. Capio's records show, however, that it communicated the dispute to TransUnion on April 5, 2017, and that it requested that TransUnion delete the trade line on May 10, 2017. See Def.'s Ex. 4 at ¶¶ 10-18. Capio received an email from TransUnion confirming the deletion request. Id.

         Although Plaintiff suggests that “it is certainly possible” that Capio's records are inaccurate, Plaintiff has not presented specific evidence in support of this contention. At the time Capio's motion was filed, Plaintiff sought additional discovery in order to respond. Discovery is now complete, having closed on January 22, 2018, and Plaintiff has not sought to supplement the record. Under the circumstances, Plaintiff ...


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