United States District Court, D. Oregon, Portland Division
OPINION AND ORDER
V. ACOSTA, United States Magistrate Judge
Beverly Heffington (“Heffington”) brings this
lawsuit against Defendant Gordon, Aylworth and Tami, P.C.
(“GAT”),  alleging violations of the Fair Debt
Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”). Heffington
claims GAT violated the FDCPA's validation notice
provision by failing to make required disclosures during its
efforts to collect on her debt. Currently before the court is
GAT's Motion for Summary Judgment, ECF No. 9
(“Motion”). For the reasons set forth below, the
Motion is granted.
facts of the case are undisputed. More than a decade ago,
First Resolution Investment Corporation (“First
Resolution”) enlisted the help of the Defendant law
firm, specializing in debt collection and then-named Daniel
N. Gordon, P.C. (“Gordon Law”), to assist in
collecting debts Heffington owed. (Decl. of Matthew R.
Aylworth (ECF No. 10) (“Aylworth Decl.”),
¶¶ 2, 4.) Heffington owed First Resolution the
balance of two respective bank accounts. (Aylworth Decl. Exs.
2, 3 (collectively, the “2006 Letters”).) Gordon
Law first communicated with Heffington on June 19, 2006, when
it sent her two letters, one for each account. (Id.)
The letters detailed the purpose of the communication and the
amounts owed. (Id.)
2007, a state court awarded First Resolution a combined
general judgment against Heffington for the debts, which were
then combined into a single judgment account. (Id.
¶¶ 3, 10.) It appears no payment was made on that
23, 2016, GAT sent Heffington another letter, again
requesting payment on the debt, which by this time had grown
significantly due to accrued interest. (Aylworth Decl. Ex. 1
(“2016 Letter”).) The 2016 Letter was printed on
GAT's letterhead, which depicted GAT's current name
and logo. (Aylworth Decl. Ex. 1.) Immediately below GAT's
information was printed: “Formerly Daniel N. Gordon,
P.C.” (Id.) Daniel N. Gordon's name was
also listed as an attorney of the law firm along the
right-hand border of the page. (Id.) The 2016
Letter, in relevant part, read: “This firm has been
retained to collect a judgment in the sum of $25, 623.94,
which is the current balance, and which includes $11, 360.91
of post-judgment interest. Interest may continue to accrue in
accordance with the judgment until the balance is paid in
subsequently filed suit in October 2016. (Compl. ¶
judgment is appropriate “if the pleadings, the
discovery and disclosure materials on file, and any
affidavits show that there is no genuine issue as to any
material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as
a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). Summary judgment
is not proper if material factual issues exist for trial.
Warren v. City of Carlsbad, 58 F.3d 439, 441 (9th
moving party has the burden of establishing the absence of a
genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). If the moving party
shows the absence of a genuine issue of material fact, the
nonmoving party must go beyond the pleadings and identify
facts which show a genuine issue for trial. Id. at
324. A nonmoving party cannot defeat summary judgment by
relying on the allegations in the complaint, or with
unsupported conjecture or conclusory statements.
Hernandez v. Spacelabs Med., Inc., 343 F.3d 1107,
1112 (9th Cir. 2003). Thus, summary judgment should be
entered against “a party who fails to make a showing
sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential
to that party's case, and on which that party will bear
the burden of proof at trial.” Celotex, 477
U.S. at 322.
court must view the evidence in the light most favorable to
the nonmoving party. Bell v. Cameron Meadows Land
Co., 669 F.2d 1278, 1284 (9th Cir. 1982). All reasonable
doubt as to the existence of a genuine issue of fact should
be resolved against the moving party. Hector v.
Wiens, 533 F.2d 429, 432 (9th Cir. 1976).
deference to the nonmoving party has limits. The nonmoving
party must set forth “specific facts showing a
genuine issue for trial.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)
(emphasis added). The “mere existence of a scintilla of
evidence in support of the plaintiff's position [is]
insufficient.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 252 (1986). Therefore, where
“the record taken as a whole could not lead a rational
trier of fact to find for the nonmoving party, there is no
genuine issue for trial.” Matsushita Elec. Indus.
Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587
(1986) (internal quotation marks omitted).
sues GAT under § 1692g(a) the FDCPA, alleging GAT's
2016 Letter failed to convey adequately whether interest was
continuing to accrue on her debt. GAT moves for summary
judgment, arguing first that § 1692g(a) does not apply
because the 2016 Letter was not an “initial
communication, ” and second, that even if §
1692g(a) does apply, the 2016 Letter's language complies
with the provision's requirements.
FDCPA prohibits false or deceptive practices in connection
with debt collection. 15 U.S.C. §§ 1692 et seq.
This “broad remedial statute” is to be construed
liberally, “in favor of the consumer in order to
effectuate [its] goal of eliminating abuse.”
Hernandez v. Williams, Zinman & Parham PC, 829
F.3d 1068, 1078 (9th Cir. 2016) (citing Gonzales v. Arrow
Fin. Servs., LLC, 660 F.3d 1055, 1060 (9th Cir.
debt collector sends a consumer an initial communication
about a debt, often referred to as a validation notice, the
FDCPA requires that communication, or any subsequent notice
sent within five days of the initial communication, to
contain certain disclosures. 15 U.S.C. § 1692g(a)(1).
Section 1692g(a) provides:
Within five days after the initial communication with a
consumer in connection with the collection of any debt, a
debt collector shall, unless the following information is
contained in the initial communication or the consumer has
paid the debt, send the consumer a written notice containing
(1) the amount of the debt;
(2) the name of the creditor to whom the debt is owed;
(3) a statement that unless the consumer, within thirty days
after receipt of the notice, disputes the validity of the
debt, or any portion thereof, the debt will be ...