United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
JACQUELYN A. VANDEHEY, on her own behalf and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
CLIENT SERVICES, INC., a Missouri Corporation, and JOHN DOES, Defendants.
DECISION AND ORDER GRANTING MOTION FOR CLASS
WILLIAM C. GRIESBACH, CHIEF JUDGE
Jacquelyn A. Vandehey alleges Defendant Client Services, Inc.
violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), 15
U.S.C. § 1692, et seq., by sending Plaintiff a
debt collection letter that was materially false, deceptive,
and misleading to an unsophisticated consumer. Plaintiff
filed a motion for class certification on April 12, 2019.
Plaintiff proposes to represent a class consisting of
“[a]ll natural persons to whom Defendant mailed a
written communication in the form of Exhibit
A to an address in the State of Wisconsin on a
charged-off Capital One credit card account during the Class
Period which begins on October 19, 2017 and ends on November
9, 2018.” Pl.'s Br., Dkt. No. 16, at 1. For the
following reasons, Plaintiff's motion for class
certification will be granted.
allegations stem from a letter she received from Defendant
dated October 30, 2017. Compl. ¶ 25, Dkt. No. 1.
Plaintiff alleges that this letter was a “form
letter” and that it was sent to collect debts from
Wisconsin residents. Pl.'s Br., Dkt. No. 16, at 2. The
letter indicates that Plaintiff defaulted on a debt owed to
Capital One Bank, and that, at some point, that debt was
transferred to Defendant for collection. Compl. ¶¶
27, 31. The letter provided the following itemized charges:
Balance Due at Charge-Off: $978.76
Other Charges: $0.00
Payments Made: $0.00
Current Balance: $978.76
Id. ¶ 33; Dkt. No. 1-1 at 2. On the second page
of the letter, Defendant provided, “Please note that no
interest will be added to your account balance through the
course of Client Services, Inc. collection efforts concerning
your account.” Compl. ¶ 35; Dkt. No. 1-1 at 3.
alleges that, as a result of the itemized charges, the
balance being described as “current, ” and the
statement on the second page of the letter, Defendant has
falsely implied to the unsophisticated consumer that interest
and other charges could be added to the charged-off debt.
Compl. ¶ 42. Plaintiff claims, therefore, that the
letter is materially false, deceptive, and misleading to an
unsophisticated consumer. Id. ¶ 44. Plaintiff
further claims that the letter created a false sense of
urgency because the letter misled unsophisticated consumers
into thinking that they needed to promptly pay the debt, or
face a substantial increase in the amount owed. Pl.'s
Br., Dkt. No. 16, at 3. As a result of these alleged
violations, Plaintiff seeks statutory damages for herself and
the proposed class; a reward to Plaintiff for services on
behalf of the class; attorneys' fees, litigation
expenses, and costs pursuant to 15 U.S.C. § 1692k(a)(3);
and other relief that may be deemed just and proper.
Rule 23 Class Certification Standard
plaintiff requesting class certification must satisfy the
four prerequisites of Rule 23(a) as well as one of the
provisions listed in Rule 23(b). Oshana v. Coca-Cola
Co., 472 F.3d 506, 513 (7th Cir. 2006). Rule 23(a)
requires that a plaintiff establish that “(1) the class
is so numerous that joinder of all members is impracticable,
(2) there are questions of law or fact common to the class,
(3) the claims or defenses of the representative parties are
typical of the claims or defenses of the class, and (4) the
representative parties will fairly and adequately protect the
interests of the class.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 23(a). It is the
plaintiff's burden to prove that class certification is
warranted. Oshana, 472 F.3d at 513. Rule 23 is not a
“mere pleading standard, ” Wal-Mart Stores,
Inc. v. Dukes, 564 U.S. 338, 350 (2011), and a plaintiff
must prove each ...