United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
DECISION AND ORDER
ADELMAN, DISTRICT JUDGE
Brunett filed this putative class action against Convergent
Outsourcing, Inc., (“Convergent”) alleging that a
collection letter it sent her contained language that
violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
(“FDCPA”), 15 U.S.C. § 1692 et seq.
Pending before me are plaintiff's motion for class
certification and defendant's motion for summary
undisputed facts of the case are as follows. Darlene Brunell
incurred a debt of 1012.13 owed to Comenity Bank, related to
her PayPal account. She failed to pay the balance of her
account and Comenity Bank placed the account with defendant
Convergent for collection. Convergent set a collection letter
to Brunell, which included the following language:
This notice is being sent to you by a collection agency. Your
PayPal Credit account, has a past due balance of $ 1012.13.
Our client has advised us that they are willing to satisfy
your account for 50% of your total balance. The full amount
must be received in our office by an agreed upon date. If you
are interested in taking advantage of this opportunity, call
our office within 60 days of this letter. Even if you are
unable to take advantage of this opportunity, please contact
our office to see what terms can be worked out on your
account. We are not required to make this arrangement to you
in the future.
Notice: The Internal Revenue Service may require financial
institutions to file form 1099-C (Cancellation of Debt) to
report the discharge of indebtedness of $600.00 or more.
ECF # 39-2 at 2. If Brunett had accepted the offer offered in
the letter, she would have paid $506.07 to Convergent, and
Convergent would have discharged the remaining $506.06. Since
that amount is less than $600.00, the IRS reporting
requirement would not have been triggered.
receiving the letter, Brunett called Convergent and stated
that she was unable to pay the $506.07 to resolve the
account, instead offering to make monthly payments of $5.00.
testified at her deposition that she was confused by the
inclusion of the IRS notice in the collection letter, and was
unsure under what conditions it would apply to her. She
alleges that the inclusion of such a notice might cause a
recipient of such a letter to pay the entire debt to avoid
trouble with the IRS, thus foregoing various options and
protections available to debtors.
proposed class consists of “2, 666 residents of
Wisconsin, Indiana, and Illinois who were [sic] the
collection letters sent to those residents listed (a) an
amount owed that was less than $600 or (b) listed a proposed
discharge of indebtedness that was for less than $600.”
ECF # 38 at 3-4. Brunett moves that she be appointed class
representative and that her counsel, James Vlahakis, be
appointed class counsel.
Rule of Civil Procedure 23(a) provides:
One or more members of a class may sue or be sued as
representative parties on behalf ...