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Patton v. Financial Business and Consumer Solutions, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Nevada

July 30, 2018

RUSSELL PATTON, Plaintiff(s),


         Presently before the court is defendant Financial Business and Consumer Solutions, Inc.'s (“Financial Solutions”) motion for summary judgment. (ECF No. 38). Plaintiff Russell Patton filed a response (ECF No. 42), to which Financial Solutions replied (ECF No. 47).

         I. Facts

         The instant action involves an allegation of unauthorized debt collection in violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1692 et seq. (“the FDCPA”).

         In July of 2011, an account was opened in Patton's name for a credit card with Orchard Bank. (ECF No. 38, Ex. D). In July of 2013, the account fell into default. Id. at Ex. A. On January 6, 2014, Patton was mailed a letter from Capital One describing Capital One's acquisition of Orchard Bank and the subsequent rolling of the Orchard Bank card into an account with Capital One. Id. at Ex. D. From July of 2011 to February of 2014, Orchard Bank and Capital One mailed monthly statements to Patton's home address. Id. at Ex. A.

         In February of 2014, Patton's account was sent to collections. Id. The unpaid amount for the January 3, 2014 - February 2, 2014, billing period was $503.27. Id. The debt was subsequently transferred from Capital One to Midland Funding (“Midland”). (ECF No. 20 at 6). Midland then sent Patton's account information to Financial Solutions to commence collection of the debt. (ECF No. 47, Ex. 3).

         On February 5, 2016, Financial Solutions sent Patton a collection letter in an attempt to collect the outstanding debt from Patton. Id. at Ex. 1. The collection letter stated that Patton owed $503.27. See Id. This is the allegedly illegal communication which forms the basis for the amended complaint. See (ECF No. 20).

         On November 30, 2016, Patton filed a complaint asserting that the collection letter violated the FDCPA. (ECF No. 1). On May 4, 2017, Patton filed his first amended complaint. (ECF No. 20). In the instant motion, Financial Solutions moves for summary judgment. (ECF No. 38).

         II. Legal Standard

         The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure authorize summary judgment when the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that “there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). A principal purpose of summary judgment is “to isolate and dispose of factually unsupported claims.” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323-24 (1986).

         For purposes of summary judgment, disputed factual issues should be construed in favor of the non-moving party. Lujan v. Nat'l Wildlife Fed., 497 U.S. 871, 888 (1990). However, to preclude summary judgment, the nonmoving party must “set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.” Id.

         In determining summary judgment, a court applies a burden-shifting analysis. The moving party must first satisfy its initial burden. “When the party moving for summary judgment would bear the burden of proof at trial, it must come forward with evidence which would entitle it to a directed verdict if the evidence went uncontroverted at trial. In such a case, the moving party has the initial burden of establishing the absence of a genuine issue of fact on each issue material to its case.” C.A.R. Transp. Brokerage Co. v. Darden Rests., Inc., 213 F.3d 474, 480 (9th Cir. 2000) (citations omitted).

         By contrast, when the nonmoving party bears the burden of proving the claim or defense, the moving party can meet its burden in two ways: (1) by presenting evidence to negate an essential element of the non-moving party's case; or (2) by demonstrating that the nonmoving party failed to make a showing sufficient to establish an element essential to that party's case on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial. See Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 323-24. If the moving party fails to meet its initial burden, summary judgment must be denied and the court need not consider the nonmoving party's evidence. See Adickes v. S.H. Kress & Co., 398 U.S. 144, 159- 60 (1970).

         If the moving party satisfies its initial burden, the burden then shifts to the opposing party to establish that a genuine issue of material fact exists. See Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). To establish the existence of a factual dispute, the opposing party need not establish a material issue of fact conclusively in its favor. It is sufficient that “the claimed factual dispute be shown to require a jury or judge to resolve the parties' differing versions of the truth at trial.” T.W. Elec. Serv., Inc. v. Pac. Elec. Contractors Ass'n, 809 F.2d 626, 631 (9th Cir. 1987).

         In other words, the nonmoving party cannot avoid summary judgment by relying solely on conclusory allegations that are unsupported by factual data. See Taylor v. List, 880 F.2d 1040, 1045 (9th Cir. 1989). Instead, the opposition must go beyond the assertions and allegations of the pleadings and set forth specific facts by ...

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