United States District Court, W.D. Washington
C. Coughenour UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the Court on Plaintiffs' motion for
partial summary judgment (Dkt. No. 7) and Defendant's
cross-motion for summary judgment (Dkt. No. 8). Having
thoroughly considered the parties' briefing and the
relevant record, the Court hereby GRANTS Plaintiffs'
motion (Dkt. No. 7) and DENIES Defendant's cross-motion
(Dkt. No. 8) for the reasons explained herein.
January 7, 2017, Plaintiff Chi-Lu Schore received medical
treatment at Seattle Emergency Physicians
(“SEP”). (Dkt. No. 7-1 at 12.) Schore had health
insurance and assumed the procedure was covered.
(Id. at 2.) In fact, the procedure was applied to
Schore's deductible, and her insurer billed her $412.
(Id. at 12.) Schore did not initially pay the bill.
(Id. at 2.)
early May 2017, Schore received a letter from Defendant
Renton Collections, Inc. (“RCI”) that stated her
past due account had been “assigned to our office for
collection by SEATTLE EMERGENY PHYSNS.” (Id.
at 7.) The letter directed Schore to remit payment of $412 to
RCI on its website or by mail. (Id.) On May 19,
2017, Schore's husband contacted SEP, confirmed the
outstanding debt, and paid off the balance via credit card.
(Dkt. No. 7-2 at 2.) To ensure the claim was resolved, Mr.
Schore called RCI and notified it of the payment to SEP.
(Id.) Despite the Schores' payment, RCI
subsequently called them several times attempting to collect
the SEP medical debt.
August 28, 2017, the Schores sent a letter to RCI challenging
the debt. (Dkt. No. 7-1 at 9.) On September 29, 2017, RCI
responded by letter, stating it had “contacted the
original creditor and confirmed the validity and amount of
the debt, [and] whether or not any payments were made.”
(Id. at 11.) RCI included an invoice from SEP that
showed the balance of $412 had been paid on May 19, 2017.
(Id.) Notwithstanding the invoice, RCI wrote that
“the amounts are currently due and owing from
you” and directed the Schores to remit a $412 payment.
Schores filed this lawsuit alleging RCI violated the federal
Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”), 15
U.S.C. § 1692, et seq., the Washington
Collection Agency Act (“WCAA”), Revised Code of
Washington § 19.16, et seq., and the Washington
Consumer Protection Act (“WCPA”) Revised Code of
Washington § 19.86, et seq., by attempting to
collect a debt that they already paid. (Dkt. No. 1.)
The parties have submitted cross-motions for summary judgment
on the issue of RCI's liability.
RCI's Request for a Continuance
asks the Court to grant a continuance pursuant to Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 56(d), if it concludes that summary
judgment is premature. (Dkt. No. 8 at 19.) The Court may
continue a motion for summary judgment when the nonmoving
party sets forth “specified reasons [why] it cannot
present facts essential to justify its opposition” to
Civ. P. 56(d). “A party requesting a continuance
pursuant to Rule 56(f) must identify by affidavit the
specific facts that further discovery would reveal, and
explain why those facts would preclude summary
judgment.” Tatum v. City & Cty. of San
Francisco, 441 F.3d 1090, 1100 (9th Cir. 2006) (citing
not identified by affidavit the specific facts that
additional discovery would reveal or explained how such
information would preclude summary judgment. RCI generally
states that it has not conducted certain discovery-for
example, depositions-but does not explain how the discovery
would aid it in opposing summary judgment. (Dkt. No. 11 at
2.) The Court therefore DENIES RCI's motion for a
continuance under Rule 56(d).
Summary Judgment Standard
court shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows 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). In making such a determination, the Court
must view the facts and justifiable inferences to be drawn
therefrom in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party.
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S.
242, 255 (1986). Once a motion for summary judgment is
properly made and supported, the opposing party “must
come forward with ‘specific facts showing that there is
a genuine issue for trial.'”
Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp.,
475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986) (emphasis in original) (quoting
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)). When the party moving for summary
judgment also bears the burden of persuasion at trial,
“to prevail on summary judgment it must show that the
evidence is so powerful that no reasonable jury would be free
to disbelieve it.” Shakur v. Schriro, 514 F.3d
878, 890 (9th Cir. 2008).