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NARWICK v. WEXLER

August 24, 1995

LISA NARWICK, f/k/a BRATCHER, and ROBERT GRIGUS, on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
v.
NORMAN P. WEXLER and MITCHELL H., WEXLER, d/b/a WEXLER & WEXLER, Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: MARVIN E. ASPEN

 MARVIN E. ASPEN, Chief District Judge:

 Plaintiffs Lisa Narwick and Robert Grigus bring this putative class action, alleging violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1692, et seq. by defendants Norman P. Wexler and Mitchell H. Wexler. Presently before the court is plaintiffs' motion for class certification and defendant Norman P. Wexler's motion for summary judgment. *fn1" For the reasons set forth below, plaintiffs' motion for class certification is denied, and defendant's motion for summary judgment is granted in part and denied in part.

 I. Background

 A. Plaintiff Robert Grigus

 In 1993, plaintiff Robert Grigus, a resident of Palos Park, Illinois, wrote a gambling marker to Empress River Casino Corporation in Joliet, Illinois, payable on his account at First Nationwide Bank in Chicago. *fn2" The marker was returned for insufficient funds. Defendant Norman P. Wexler, doing business as Wexler & Wexler, filed an action against Grigus in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Municipal Department, First Municipal District, on behalf of Empress River. Grigus was subsequently served with process, and judgment was ultimately entered against him.

 B. Plaintiff Lisa Narwick

 In 1992, plaintiff Lisa Narwick, a resident of Morris Illinois, wrote a check to a Wal-Mart store in Morris. *fn3" The check was subsequently returned for insufficient funds. In December, 1993, defendant filed an action on behalf of the store in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, Municipal Department, First Municipal District. Approximately two months later, Narwick was served with process at her residence in Morris. She called defendant and agreed to make payments, but failed to follow through. Accordingly, in May, 1994, judgment was entered against Narwick.

 Plaintiffs Grigus and Narwick subsequently brought this action as putative class representatives, asserting that the filing of the respective lawsuits violated the venue provisions of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act ("FDCPA"), 15 U.S.C. § 1692, et seq.

 II. Summary Judgment Standard

 Under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, summary judgment is appropriate if "there is no genuine issue as to any material fact, and... .the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). This standard places the initial burden on the moving party to identify "those portions of 'the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with affidavits, if any,' which it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323, 91 L. Ed. 2d 265, 106 S. Ct. 2548 (1986) (quoting Rule 56(c)). Once the moving party has done this, the non-moving party "must set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). In deciding a motion for summary judgment, the court must read all facts in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 254, 91 L. Ed. 2d 202, 106 S. Ct. 2505 (1986); Griffin v. Thomas, 929 F.2d 1210, 1212 (7th Cir. 1991).

 III. Discussion

 There are currently two motions before the court: plaintiffs' motion for class certification and defendant's motion for summary judgment. Consistent with the teachings of the Seventh Circuit, we shall consider the motion for class certification first. Peritz v. Liberty Loan Corp., 523 F.2d 349, 352-53 (7th Cir. 1975); see also Hudson v. Chicago Teachers Union, Local No. 1, 922 F.2d 1306, 1316-17 (7th Cir. 1991) (reaffirming Peritz), cert. denied, 501 U.S. 1230, 115 L. Ed. 2d 1020, 111 S. Ct. 2852 (1991).

 A. Plaintiffs' Motion for Class Certification

 Plaintiffs have sought to certify two classes, ...


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