United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
SHOW CAUSE ORDER REGARDING STANDING UNDER
L. ROBART United States District Judge
court is in receipt of Plaintiff Kelly Erickson's motion
for class certification. (Mot. (Dkt. # 11).) Having reviewed
Ms. Erickson's motion, Defendant's (“Elliot
Bay”) response to the motion (Resp. (Dkt. # 13)), Ms.
Erickson's reply memorandum (Reply (Dkt. # 16)), Ms.
Erickson's complaint (Dkt. # 1), Elliot Bay's answer
(Dkt. # 6), the relevant portions of the record, and the
applicable law, the court defers its consideration of Ms.
Erickson's motion and instead ORDERS Ms. Erickson to show
cause why the court has subject matter jurisdiction over this
Elliot Bay is a “collection agency” and
“debt collector” as defined by the Federal Debt
Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”), 15 U.S.C.
§ 1692a(6). In 2015, Elliot Bay attempted to collect a
debt from Plaintiff (and putative class representative), Ms.
Erickson on behalf of Family Health Care (“FHC”),
one of Elliot Bay's clients. (Compl. (Dkt. # 1),
¶¶ 15, 16; Resp. at 2.) Ms. Erickson alleges that
many of Elliot Bay's attempts to collect the debt
violated the FDCPA and two Washington consumer protection
statutes. (See generally Compl.)
March 17, 2015, in its first attempt to collect the debt,
Elliot Bay delivered a letter to Ms. Erickson:
NOT HAVING HEARD FROM YOU ON THIS ACCOUNT, LEGAL ACTION IS
NOW BEING CONSIDERED. TO AVOID PAYING ADDITIONAL COURT
CHARGES AS WELL AS THIS AMOUNT, IMMEDIATELY SEND THE BALANCE
IN FULL BY RETURN MAIL TO THE ABOVE ADDRESS.
((Id., ¶ 21; Ex. A (emphasis in original).)
Elliot Bay admits that at least forty custumers in addition
to Ms. Erickson received collection letters with identical
language. (Mot., Ex. B at 6 (attaching Ms. Erickson's
requests for admission and responses thereto).) In fact, the
Collection Letter contains standard language included in
letters to all of Elliot Bay's costumers “on all
types of accounts and on all types of amounts owed.”
(Id.) Although Ms. Erickson's two claims on
behalf of the class-Counts II and III-allege many other FDCPA
violations, Ms. Erickson seeks class certification solely on
the basis of the March 17, 2015, collection letter.
(See Mot. at 1, 7.) Ms. Erickson claims that the
letter violates the FDCPA by threatening “additional
court charges . . . [f]alsely representing that if payment
[is] not made in full that court charges would automatically
be added to the balance of the alleged debt.”
(Id. ¶¶ 26, 52, 53(e).)
12, 2015, Elliot Bay sent a second letter to Ms. Erickson
listing Ms. Erickson's alleged debt in the categories of
“Principal, ” “Interest, ” and
“Misc./CC.” (Id., ¶ ¶ 27, 28;
Answer ¶¶ 27, 28.) When Ms. Erickson's counsel
contacted Elliot Bay about the “Misc./CC” charge,
Ms. Erickson claims that Elliot Bay explained that the
charge, totaling $283.00, represented $200.00 in
attorney's fees and $83.00 in filing fees. (Id.,
¶ 30.) According to Ms. Erickson, Elliot Bay had no
legal or contractual right to attorney's fees.
(Id. ¶ 31.)
5, 2015, Ms. Erickson notified Elliot Bay that she had
retained counsel and directed Elliot Bay not to contact her
and to address all future communications regarding the debt
to her attorney. (Id., ¶¶ 33-34 (citing
Exs. C, D).) Nevertheless, Ms.Erickson received a third
collection letter on September 10, 2015. (Compl. ¶ 37;
Answer ¶ 37.) This time, the collection letter listed
Ms. Erickson's debts as $120.00 in “Principal,
” $61.32.00 in “Interest, ” and $323.00 in
“Misc./CC.” (Compl. ¶ 39; Answer ¶ 39.)
Ms. Erickson believes Elliot Bay did not have a legal or
contractual right to charge $323.00 in “Misc./CC”
fees. (Compl. ¶ 40.) The third collection letter also
IF YOU PAY THE ACCOUNT IN FULL AND ASK FOR DELETION FROM YOUR
CREDIT FILE(S), WE WILL REQUEST DELETION ON YOUR BEHALF.
(Compl. ¶ 41; id., Ex. E (emphasis in
original); Answer ¶ 41.) Ms. Erickson claims that the
third collection letter misleads by implying that Ms.
Erickson could only clear her credit report by asking Elliot
Bay for deletion, when there are other avenues for removing
the debt from her report. (Compl. ¶ 42.)
September 3, 2015, and January 19, 2016, Elliot Bay reported
Ms. Erickson's debt to a credit bureau. (Id.
¶ 35; Answer ¶ 35.) Ms. Erickson alleges that
Elliot Bay did not notify the credit bureau that her debt was
disputed, as required under the FDCPA. (Compl. ¶ 36.)
April 28, 2015, after six weeks of failed attempts to recover
payment, Elliot Bay filed a collection lawsuit against Ms.
Erickson in Snohomish County District Court. (Berggren Decl.
(Dkt. # 15) ¶ 6, Ex. A.) The collection lawsuit was
eventually dismissed after Elliot Bay made ...