United States District Court, E.D. Washington
ORDER RESOLVING CROSS-MOTIONS FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
AND DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO STRIKE
ROSANNA MALOUF PETERSON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
THE COURT is a Motion for Summary Judgment by Defendant
Suttell and Hammer, PS (“Suttell”), ECF No. 12, a
Motion for Partial Summary Judgment by Plaintiff Alyssa
Vougas, ECF No. 20, and a Motion to Strike Plaintiff's
Motion for Partial Summary Judgment by Suttell, ECF No. 23.
Having reviewed the parties' filings regarding all three
motions, and the relevant law, the Court is fully informed.
following facts are undisputed unless otherwise noted.
Plaintiff Vougas had an American Express Centurion Bank
(“American Express”) credit card account. ECF
Nos. 13 at 1; 17 at 1. American Express charged off
Vougas's account in May 2012, at which point Vougas's
unpaid balance was $14, 968.09. ECF No. 13 at 2. American
Express secured a default judgment against Vougas on July 19,
2012, in the amount of $14, 968.09. ECF No. 14-1 at 2. The
default judgment found that American Express was entitled to
recover from Vougas:
1. The amount of $14, 968.09 as the balance due, owing, and
2. All costs of [the default judgment] proceeding.
3. Post-judgment interest on said sums from the date of
Judgment until paid at the rate of 5.0% per annum, which is
the legal rate under §304.004. TEX. FINANCE CODE,
compounded annually in accordance with § 304.006, TEX.
ECF No. 14-1 at 2.
Express retained Suttell, a law firm based in Bellevue,
Washington, to collect from Vougas pursuant to the default
judgment. ECF Nos. 14 at 2; 17 at 1. Vougas contests
Suttell's assertion that American Express hired Suttell
to collect the $14, 968.09 without the interest, and
maintains that “[i]n all likelihood, American Express
hired Suttell & Hammer to collect the entire judgment
amount, not just the original amount of the judgment listed
in Suttell's letter, but discovery is needed to prove
this.” ECF No. 17 at 1.
sent Vougas a letter dated March 22, 2019, informing her that
Suttell had taken responsibility for collecting her debt to
American Express in the amount of $14, 968.09, the subject of
a judgment entered on July 19, 2012. ECF No. 14-1 at 5. The
letter further provided Vougas with a reference number and
partial account number associated with her debt and informed
We have a wide range of payment options that may be available
to assist you with the repayment of the above-referenced
debt. We are committed to assisting you in resolving the
outstanding balance owed on the above account.
Unless you notify this office within thirty days after
receiving this notice that you dispute the validity of this
debt or any portion thereof, this office will assume this
debt is valid. If you notify this office in writing within
thirty days after receiving this notice that you dispute the
validity of this debt or any portion thereof, this office
will obtain verification of the debt or obtain a copy of a
judgment and mail you a copy of such verification or
judgment. Upon your written request within the thirty day
period after receiving this notice, this office will provide
you with the name and address of the original creditor, if
different from the current creditor.
ECF No. 14-1 at 5.
filed the Complaint in this matter on October 22, 2018. ECF
No. 1. Vougas claimed a violation of the federal Fair Debt
Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”), 15 U.S.C.
§ 1692, et seq., and the Washington Collection
Agency Act (“WCAA”), ch. 19.16 Revised Code of
Washington (“RCW”). Vougas alleged in her
complaint that “[w]ithin the last year, Defendant took
multiple actions in an attempt to collect a debt from
Plaintiff.” Vougas continued, “Defendant's
conduct violated the FDCPA and WCAA in multiple ways,
including the following.” Vougas then specified only
one action by Suttell that allegedly violated the FDCPA and
Violating the FDCPA and WCAA by failing to disclose the
interest rate and other details applicable to the debt in the
initial letter to Plaintiff (15 USC 1692e & g(a) &
ECF No. 1 at 2.
Jury Trial Scheduling Order entered in this matter set April
12, 2019, as the deadline for any motion to amend pleadings.
On April 17, 2019, Vougas served written discovery requests
on Suttell and ...