United States District Court, E.D. Washington
ROSE BORN, on behalf of herself and all other similarly situated, Plaintiff,
STATE COLLECTION SERVICE, INC., a foreign profit corporation, Defendant.
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY
O. RICE Chief United States District Judge.
THE COURT is Defendant State Collection Service, Inc.'s
Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 14). This matter was
heard with oral argument on June 18, 2019. The Court has
reviewed the record and files therein, and is fully informed.
For the reasons discussed below, Defendant's Motion for
Summary Judgment (ECF No. 14) is GRANTED.
November 30, 2018, Plaintiff Rose Born initiated this
putative class action against Defendant State Collection
Service, Inc. (“State”) under the Fair Debt
Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”), 15 U.S.C.
§ 1692 et seq., the Washington Collection
Agency Act (“WCAA”), RCW 19.16 et seq.,
and Washington's Consumer Protection Act
(“WCPA”), RCW 19.86 et seq. ECF No. 1.
Plaintiff primarily alleges that Defendant's name
“State Collection Service” gave the false
impression that the debt collection company was in some way
associated with the State of Washington in violation of the
April 24, 2019, Defendant State filed a Motion for Summary
Judgment, seeking dismissal of Plaintiff's federal and
state law claims. ECF No. 13. Plaintiff filed a response to
Defendant's motion on May 28, 2019. ECF No. 20. In her
response, Plaintiff voluntarily withdrew her state law claims
under the WCAA and the WCPA. Id. at 12. Accordingly,
those state law claims are hereby dismissed. Only
Plaintiff's FDCPA claims remain before the Court.
following are the undisputed facts unless otherwise noted.
Between January 31, 2018, and February 1, 2018, Plaintiff
received medical services at MultiCare Deaconess Hospital
(“Deaconess Hospital”) in Spokane, Washington.
ECF No. 17 at ¶ 9. The charges for Plaintiff's
medical services totaled $16, 051.51. Id.
August 15, 2018, Plaintiff made a payment of $7, 419.00 on
her account. ECF No. 17 at ¶ 12. On August 29, 2018,
Plaintiff received a write-off of her balance, totaling $8,
200.88, for qualifying charity care from Deaconess Hospital.
Id. at ¶ 13. After applying the charity care
discount to her account, Plaintiff was left with a balance of
$431.63 ($16, 051.51 less $8, 200.88 less $7, 419.00).
Id. Deaconess Hospital also gave Plaintiff an
additional self-pay discount of $361.16, further reducing
Plaintiff's remaining balance to $70.47. Id. On
October 15, 2018, Plaintiff made a $10.00 payment to
Deaconess Hospital, which left a balance of $60.47 on her
account. Id. at ¶ 15.
about November 2, 2018, Deaconess Hospital sent
Plaintiff's account to collections. Id. at
¶ 16. The account was received by and assigned to
Defendant State on November 5, 2018. Id. That same
day, Plaintiff called Deaconess Hospital's
“Patient's Financial Experience Department”
to discuss the status of her account. Id. at ¶
17. Speaking with a Hospital employee, Plaintiff explained
that she received a threatening letter informing her that her
account was going to be sent to collections. Id. at
3. The Hospital employee confirmed that Plaintiff's
account “did leave the office and go to collections as
of last week.” Id. at 4. When Plaintiff asked
if she could do anything about the account being sent to
collections, the Hospital employee stated that she could
“definitely provide [Plaintiff] with the number for the
agency” that had been assigned the account.
Id. After noting the phone number, Plaintiff asked
the Hospital employee to provide “the name of the
collection agency.” Id. The Hospital employee
stated that the name of the collection agency was
“State Collections.” Id.
November 7, 2018, Defendant State sent its first collection
notice to Plaintiff. Id. at ¶ 18; see
id. at 22 (Ex. 3). The letter informed Plaintiff that a
past due account had been referred to Defendant for debt
collection from Deaconess Hospital and confirmed that the
account balance was $60.47. Id. The letter was
printed on Defendant State's letterhead, which displayed
the name “State Collection Service Inc.” along
with an address in Madison, Wisconsin. Id. The
following disclosure was included at the bottom of the
This communication is from a debt collector. This is an
attempt to collect a debt. Any information will be used for
This collection agency is licensed by the Division of
Banking in the Wisconsin Department of Financial
Id. (emphasis in original).
the letter was received by Plaintiff, on November 8, 2018,
Plaintiff called Defendant State to discuss the status of her
account. Id. at ¶ 19. After pulling up
Plaintiff's account and asking Plaintiff to verify her