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Stewart v. Hawes

United States District Court, D. Oregon

February 10, 2015

MORSE EDWARD STEWART, Plaintiff,
v.
JOSEPH R. HAWES, President and Chief Executive Officer, HAWES FINANCIAL GROUP, PROFESSIONAL CREDIT SERVICE, Defendant.

OPINION AND ORDER

ANN AIKEN, District Judge.

Plaintiff filed suit alleging violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), 15 U.S.C. ยง 1692, et seq., based on defendants' attempts to collect medical debts allegedly owed by plaintiff. Defendant moves to dismiss plaintiff's claims for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. [1] See Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b) (6). The motion is granted and this action is dismissed.

BACKGROUND

According to plaintiff's complaint and the documents attached thereto, on June 23, 2014, defendant Professional Credit Service (PCS) [2]sent plaintiff a notification that PCS sought to collect a debt in the amount of $425.13 owed by plaintiff. Pl.'s Compl. Ex. 1 (doc. 1 at 12). The notification informed plaintiff that he must either pay the debt or contact PCS "to discuss reasonable arrangements." The notice also identified a particular address to which plaintiff should direct any disputes regarding the debt. Finally, the notice identified the creditor as Providence St. Vincent.

On June 28, 2014, plaintiff sent PCS a "Debt Collector Disclosure Statement" and "Request for Bona Fide Proof of Claim." Pl.'s Compl. Ex. 2 (doc. 1-1 at 1-9).

On July 11, 2014, PCS responded and provided plaintiff with itemized billing statements from the creditor, Providence St. Vincent. The itemized billing statements indicated the medical care received by plaintiff's wife, the date such care was provided, the costs of the medical care, and the amount due and owing after adjustments for "Uninsured Patient Discount" and "Financial Assistance Uncollect." Pl.'s Compl. Ex. 3 (doc. 1-1 at 11-22).

On July 30, 2014, PCS again contacted plaintiff by written notice and billing statement, indicating that the amount due was now $464.06 (after additional interest was applied). Pl.'s Compl. Ex. 4 (doc. 1-1 at 23). The notice again identified Providence St. Vincent as the creditor, with the amounts due for each account with Providence St. Vincent. The notice indicated that plaintiff had not attempted to make payment arrangements and that PCS "may file a lawsuit to collect this past due balance." The notice again directed plaintiff to send any correspondence regarding disputed accounts to a particular address.

On August 12, 2014, plaintiff sent PCS a "Lawful Notification of Default" and informed defendant that it was in "default" for failing to provide a "bona fide proof of claim." Pl.'s Compl. Ex. 5 (doc. 1-1 at 24-25). On September 2, 2014, plaintiff sent PCS an "Offer to Settle" and requested payment in the amount of $2, 188.49.

On October 16, 2104, plaintiff filed this action.

On November 11, 2014, defendant filed the instant motion.

DISCUSSION

The FDCPA proscribes abusive collection practices by "any person... who regularly collects or attempts to collect, directly or indirectly, debts owed or due or asserted to be owed or due another." 15 U.S.C. 1692a(6). PCS does not dispute that it is a debt collector under the FDCPA. However, PCS argues that plaintiff's allegations do not state a claim under the meaning of the FDCPA. I agree.

Plaintiff alleges that PCS violated provisions of the FDCPA that prohibit threatening, abusive or harassing communications when seeking to collect a debt. See Pl.'s Compl. 5-6; 15 U.S.C. 1692d. Further, plaintiff maintains that PCS failed to validate or verify the debt after plaintiff requested ...


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