Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Ryan v. The Stark Collection Agency, Inc.

United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin

March 28, 2018

JOHN RICHARD RYAN, JR., Plaintiff,
v.
THE STARK COLLECTION AGENCY, INC., Defendant.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          WILLIAM M. CONLEY DISTRICT JUDGE.

         In this civil lawsuit, pro se plaintiff John Richard Ryan, Jr., was proceeding on a claim against defendant Stark Collection Agency, Inc. (“Stark”) under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”), 15 U.S.C. et seq. On December 8, 2017, the court converted defendant's motion to dismiss to a motion for summary judgment and set further deadlines for the parties to submit proposed findings of fact related to “solely the issue of precisely what debt was the subject of Stark's December 28, 2015, and January 8, 2016, letters sent to plaintiff at the Dane County Jail, rather than wait for full-blown, summary judgment submissions on all issues.” (Dkt. #18, at 7.) In accordance with that order, Stark submitted additional proposed findings of fact, Ryan responded with an opposition brief, and Stark has replied, requesting both judgment and its reasonable attorneys' fees. For the reasons that follow, the court is granting defendant's motion and entering judgment in its favor, but it is denying the request for fees.

         UNDISPUTED FACTS

         The following facts are material to the subject of the letters Ryan received at the Dane County Jail. They have been drawn from the pleadings, Stark's proposed findings of fact and the evidence cited in those proposed findings, as needed. While the court gave Ryan the opportunity to both respond to Stark's proposed findings of fact and submit his own proposed facts, Ryan has chosen not to do so, instead submitting only an opposition brief. Out of deference to Ryan's pro se status, the court reviewed his opposition brief to determine whether his statements in that brief could conceivably be construed as factual averments sufficient to create a genuine issue of material fact. As his brief contains only argument, however, the court deems the following facts undisputed.

         I. Judgments entered against Ryan

         On August 21, 2015, Ryan had two judgments entered against him. First, he was convicted of a felony for violating Wis.Stat. § 946.42(3)(a), and the judgment of conviction ordered him to pay $268 in court costs. State of Wisconsin v. John R. Ryan, Jr., Case No. 2014CF26 (Dane Cty. Cir. Ct. Aug. 21, 2015). Second, he was convicted of a misdemeanor for violating Wis.Stat. § 946.41(1), and he was ordered to pay an additional $243 for court costs. State of Wisconsin v. John R. Ryan, Jr., Case No. 2015CF419 (Dane Cty. Cir. Ct. Aug. 21, 2015). Then on December 21, 2015, because Ryan failed to pay the judgments entered against him within 60 days of August 21, 2015, two more judgments were entered against Ryan, both for Unpaid Fines, Forfeitures and Other Financial Obligations. In Case No. 2014CF26, the judgment was for $268, and in Case No. 2015CF419, the judgment was for $243.

         II. Stark's debt collecting practices

         Stark employee Nathan Kalnins submitted a declaration in which he explains the process that Stark uses to send notices to debtors. Specifically, Stark uses a commercial letter-printing vendor to print and mail a majority of its notices. When Stark wants to send a letter to a debtor, Stark sends the vendor a data file containing the information to print on the notice. Then the vendor populates that data onto a template letter and mails the letter.

         Kalnins further explains that there are two relevant types of form letters that Stark sends its debtors. The first is a “validation” letter that Stark typically sends as its first communication to all of its debtors, which can contain a notice code “A01.” The second type of letter contains information regarding the government subdivision's right to certify a debt to the Wisconsin Department of Revenue as part of the Department of Revenue's Tax Refund Intercept Program. This letter contains notice code “T20.”

         III. Stark accounts listing Ryan as debtor

         On December 21, 2015, Dane County Circuit Court referred both money judgments to Stark for collection from Ryan. Stark then assigned unique Stark account numbers to Ryan's judgments. It assigned Case No. 2015CF419 the account number C270546, and Case No. 2014CF26 the account number C270547.

         The two Dane County judgments were not the only accounts in which Ryan was the debtor, however. Rather, Stark's documents show four account numbers listing Ryan as the debtor: (1) C65466, with the Dane County Clerk of Court the listed client; (2) C9166, with the Madison Media Institute the listed client; (3) C270546, with what appears to be the Dane County Clerk of Court the listed client; and (4) C270547, with the Dane County Clerk of Court the listed client. (Ex. F (dkt. #20-6) at 2.)

         IV. Stark's communications with Ryan

         On May 12, 2014, Stark caused an A01 letter to be mailed to Ryan for Stark account number C9166, Ryan's Madison Media Institute debt. That was Stark's only communication with Ryan about that debt. Nothing in the record suggests that ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.