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Hanford v. Franklin Collection Service, Inc.

United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division

May 9, 2018

Jeffrey Hanford, on behalf of himself and others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
v.
FRANKLIN COLLECTION SERVICE, INC., Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          STEPHEN N. LIMBAUGH, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Plaintiff, hoping to represent a class of all Missourians who received the same letter, alleges defendant Franklin Collection Service, Inc. (“Debt Collector”), violated the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (“Act”) when it mailed him a collection letter (“the Letter”). Debt Collector moved to dismiss, or in the alternative, for judgment on the pleadings (#20). Plaintiff opposed the motion and moved for partial judgment on the pleadings (#25). The issues are ripe, and Debt Collector's motion will be granted.

         I. Factual Background

         Back in July 2016, Debt Collector mailed the Letter to plaintiff, presumably trying to collect a debt that plaintiff allegedly owes AT&T. This case is about the Letter's content only. The Letter is one page, double sided. In relevant part, the front side reads as follows:

YOUR ACCOUNT HAS BEEN PLACED FOR DELINQUENT DEBT COLLECTION.
IF YOU ARE NOT PAYING THIS ACCOUNT IN FULL, CONTACT YOUR ATTORNEY REGARDING OUR POTENTIAL REMEDIES, AND YOUR POTENTIAL DEFENSES, OR CALL (888) 215-8961.
I INTEND TO REPORT THIS ACCOUNT ON YOUR CREDIT HISTORY AFTER 30 DAYS OF YOU RECEIVING THIS NOTICE.
. . .
THIS COMMUNICATION IS FROM A DEBT COLLECTOR. THIS IS AN ATTEMPT TO COLLECT A DEBT, AND ANY INFORMATION OBTAINED WILL BE USED FOR THAT PURPOSE.
. . .

         **PLEASE SEE REVERSE SIDE FOR IMPORTANT INFORMATION** (#16-1 at 2.) The reverse side, near the middle of the page, reads as follows:

UNLESS YOU NOTIFY U.S. WITHIN THIRTY (30) DAYS AFTER RECEIVING THIS NOTICE THAT YOU DISPUTE THE VALIDITY OF THE DEBT OR ANY PORTION THEREOF, THIS OFFICE WILL ASSUME THIS DEBT IS VALID. IF YOU NOTIFY THIS OFFICE IN WRITING WITHIN THIRTY (30) DAYS FROM RECEIVING THIS NOTICE THAT THE DEBT, OR ANY PART THEREOF, IS DISPUTED THIS OFFICE WILL OBTAIN VERIFICATION OF THE DEBT OR OBTAIN A COPY OF A JUDGMENT AND MAIL YOU A COPY OF SUCH JUDGMENT OR VERIFICATION. IF YOU REQUEST THIS OFFICE IN WRITING WITHIN THIRTY (30) DAYS AFTER RECEIVING THIS NOTICE, THIS OFFICE WILL PROVIDE YOU WITH THE NAME AND ADDRESS OF THE ORIGINAL CREDITOR IF DIFFERENT FROM THE CURRENT CREDITOR.

         (#16-1 at 3.) The text is all black, and it is all the same size.

         Plaintiff alleges Debt Collector violated 15 U.S.C. § 1692g(b), 15 U.S.C. § 1692e, and RsMo. § 407.025.1 by mailing the Letter.

         II. ...


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