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Roseanne Hutton, On Behalf of Herself and A Class v. C.B. Accounts

December 29, 2010

ROSEANNE HUTTON, ON BEHALF OF HERSELF AND A CLASS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
C.B. ACCOUNTS, INC., DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Michael P. McCUSKEY Chief U.S. District Judge

E-FILED

Wednesday, 29 December, 2010 05:30:21 PM Clerk, U.S. District Court, ILCD

OPINION

This matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff Roseanne Hutton's Motion to Reconsider Order Denying Plaintiff's Motion for Class Certification (d/e 24) (Motion to Reconsider). The Court also addresses Plaintiff's Motion for Oral Argument on Plaintiff's Motion to Reconsider Order Denying Plaintiff's Motion for Class Certification (d/e 27)(Motion for Oral Argument). For the reasons stated below, the Motion to Reconsider is DENIED and the Motion for Oral Argument is DENIED AS MOOT.

FACTS

On November 3, 2010, Plaintiff Roseanne Hutton filed a Motion for Class Certification. See d/e 18. In it, Hutton sought certification of a putative class of debtors who allegedly suffered violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), 15 U.S.C. § 1692, et seq. The violations arose because Defendant C.B. Accounts, Inc. ("CBA") contacted them without disclosing that CBA was a debt collector attempting to collect a debt. Hutton's three-page motion conclusorily stated that class certification was proper under Fed.R.Civ.P. 23(a) and (b)(3) due to numerosity, common questions of law or fact, typicality of claims or defenses, adequacy of representation and because Congress intended class actions as efficient mechanisms to prosecute FDCPA claims. See Motion for Class Certification, at pp. 2-3.

Other than citing the FDCPA and Rule 23, the Motion for Class Certification's sole reference to legal authority was White v. Humana Health Plan, Inc., No 06 C 5546, 2007 WL 1297130 (N.D.Ill. May 2, 2007)(unreported). Hutton's Motion for Class Certification made no effort to explain how the case was relevant to class certification.

Because the Motion for Class Certification raised a legal issue (i.e., the appropriateness of class certification), Local Rule 7.1(B)(1) required Hutton to submit a memorandum of law with authority in support of her class certification argument. Hutton submitted a memorandum, but it did nothing more than recite her counsel's resumes and the debt collection cases they litigated. It did not cite authority in support of class certification and it did not explain why class certification should be allowed.

On November 22, 2010, CBA filed a Response to Hutton's Motion for Class Certification. CBA's Response cited authority, applied facts and argued the legal merits in opposition to Hutton's proposed class certification. See Defendants' Response to Plaintiff's Motion for Class Certification (d/e 20) (Response). Central to CBA's Response was a line of cases which held that immaterial violations of the FDCPA were not actionable. After receiving CBA's Response, Hutton filed Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to File Reply In Support of Motion for Class Certification. See d/e 21 (filed November 23, 2010). Hutton never contended that a reply was necessary to address the FDCPA cases cited in CBA's Response. Rather, she asserted that she should be allowed to wait until January 31, 2011, to file a Reply which would address "fact issues, including [CBA's] net worth and its practices relating to the leaving telephone messages." Id. at p. 1. In order to address other "fact issues", Hutton wanted to conduct a Rule 30(b)(6) prior to the proposed January 31, 2011, Reply deadline.

Since Local Rule 7.1(B)(3) prohibited replies and the Court's disposition of the class certification issue would turn on issues of legal authority instead of "fact issues", Hutton offered no valid basis for a Reply. Thus, the Court denied Hutton leave to file a Reply. See Order entered December 2, 2010 (the "December 2 Order")(d/e 22).

That same day, the Court denied Hutton's Motion for Class Certification. See Opinion entered December 2, 2010 (d/e 23). Instead of denying the Motion for Class Certification based on Hutton's violation of Local Rule 7.1(B)(1), the Court relied on cases cited in CBA's Response-the same cases to which Hutton never sought leave to Reply. Since the cases stated that violations of the FDCPA may not be actionable unless they were "material", the Court determined that individualized issues of proof would predominate over issues affecting the putative class. Therefore, class certification was improper under Rule 23(b)(3).

On December 7, 2010, Hutton filed the Motion to Reconsider. It alleged that the Court's ruling on the "immateriality" of a FDCPA violation essentially repeals 15 U.S.C. § 1692e(11)'s disclosure requirements. Id. at p. 1. The Motion for Reconsideration failed to identify any procedural rule in support of relief. However, Hutton did file a Memorandum which cited authority stating that to show every correspondence from a debt collector to a debtor must comply with § 1692e(11)'s disclosure requirements. See Plaintiff's Memorandum in Support of Motion to Reconsider Denial of Plaintiff's Motion for Class Certification (d/e 25). CBA has filed a memorandum refuting Hutton's contentions. See Defendant's Response to Plaintiff's Motion to Reconsider Denial of Plaintiff's Motion for Class Certification (the "Response") (d/e 26). The Court has reviewed all of these materials in connection to its disposition.

STANDARD

Motions for reconsideration can be filed under Fed.R.Civ.P. 59(e) or Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b). A litigant who moves for reconsideration within 28 days of the entry of judgment has discretion to file under either procedural rule. Compare Fed.R.Civ.P. 59(e) (imposing 28-day deadline) and Fed.R.Civ.P. ...


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