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Carter v. Richland Holdings, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Nevada

September 30, 2019

JOHN CARTER, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
RICHLAND HOLDINGS, INC. d/b/a ACCTCORP OF SOUTHERN NEVADA, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

          RICHARD F. BOULWARE, II UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Before the Court is Defendant Richland Holdings, Inc. d/b/a/ AcctCorp of Southern Nevada's (“AcctCorp”) Second Motion for Summary Judgment. ECF No. 82. For the following reasons, the Court grants Defendant's Motion in its entirety.

         II. PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         Plaintiffs John and Christina Carter (“Plaintiffs”) sued Defendants AcctCorp, RC Wiley aka RC Wiley Financial Services (“RC Wiley”), Jerome R. Bowen, and Randall Corporation dba Bowen Law Offices (“Bowen”) on December 22, 2016. ECF No. 1. Plaintiffs filed an amended complaint on September 19, 2017, asserting claims under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”), 15 U.S.C. § 1692 et seq.; Chapter 598 of the Nevada Revised Statute (“NRS”) for Deceptive Trade Practices Act (“NVDTPA”); and civil conspiracy.[1] ECF No. 40. The amended complaint also removed Defendant Jerome R. Bowen as a party Id.

         The remaining defendants moved for summary judgment on October 10, 2017. ECF Nos. 49, 50. Plaintiffs filed an opposition, and Defendants filed a reply. ECF Nos. 51, 55. Defendants then moved to produce specific documents on November 8, 2017. ECF No. 54. After the motion to produce documents was fully briefed, the Court granted Defendants' request on January 5, 2017. ECF Nos. 57-58, 62.

         The Court heard oral argument on the Motion for Summary Judgment on August 23, 2018. ECF No. 69. During the hearing, the Court orally granted summary judgment in favor of Defendants RC Wiley and Bowen on all claims asserted against them. ECF No. 69. A written order issued on September 24, 2018. ECF No. 70. The order allowed Plaintiffs to continue with their FDCPA claims under Section 1692e, but only on violations that occurred on or after December 23, 2015. Id. at 11-12. The Order also re-opened discovery for the limited purpose of obtaining documents and potential deposition testimony from credit reporting agencies for the periods of January 1, 2014 to March 31, 2017. Id. at 16. To that end, the Court approved a scheduling order reopening discovery for seventy-five days. ECF No. 71. On February 21, 2019, AcctCorp filed a second motion for summary judgment. ECF Nos. 82, 83 (errata). The motion was fully briefed. ECF Nos. 84, 87. The Court held a hearing regarding the motion on September 6, 2019. ECF No. 92. This written order now follows.

         III. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         The Court repeats its factual findings made in its written order on September 24, 2018 and supplements them with relevant discovery conducted after the Court's first written order.

         a. Undisputed Facts

          John Carter opened a credit account with RC Willey on May 5, 2004. He added Christine Carter to the same credit account on July 26, 2004. The credit account was governed by the Revolving Security Agreement (“Agreement”). The Agreement allowed RC Willey to change the terms after giving Plaintiffs the “minimum notice required by law” and allowed the changes to apply to any existing account balance. Plaintiffs also completed a Credit Application and Security Agreement to update the existing credit account on May 27, 2009.

         On August 1, 2010, RC Willey changed the terms of the Agreement. In the changed terms, RC Willey provided that the state in which Plaintiffs reside-Nevada-would govern the interpretation or enforcement of the Agreement in the event that Defendants initiated any legal action associated with the Agreement against Plaintiffs. RC Willey also included a term that required Plaintiffs to “pay all of [RC Willey's] costs of collection, including, but not limited to, a collection agency fee assessed by a collection agency and/or reasonable attorney fees, with or without suit, together with all unpaid interest and court costs.” Plaintiffs were sent the revised terms of the Agreement at least forty-five days before the terms became effective. Plaintiffs continued to charge the credit account until May 10, 2011.

         Plaintiffs became delinquent on the credit account on March 11, 2014. The account balance was then $8, 286.54. A contractual collection fee of $4, 143.27 (50% of the account balance) was added to the owed balance, bringing the total owed to $12, 429.81. RC Willey then assigned the account to AcctCorp.

         AcctCorp filed an action (“State Action”) to collect the delinquent balance from Plaintiffs in state court on April 11, 2014. Plaintiffs were allegedly served under Rule 4 of the Nevada Rules of Civil Procedure on April 23, 2014. A process server served Jane Doe, described as a female of suitable age and discretion that resided at the Carters' residence, but who refused to give her full name. Bowen served as AcctCorp counsel of record in the State Action. To assist in ...


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