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Davidson v. Worldwide Asset Purchasing, LLC

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

December 27, 2012

Shirley DAVIDSON, Individually and on Behalf of the Class, Plaintiff,
v.
WORLDWIDE ASSET PURCHASING, LLC; Worldwide Asset Purchasing II, LLC; and West Receivable Services, Inc., Defendants.

Page 919

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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Daniel A. Edelman, Thomas Everett Soule, Edelman, Combs, Latturner & Goodwin, LLC, Chicago, IL, for Plaintiff.

James Kevin Schultz, Daniel W. Pisani, Sessions Fishman Nathan & Israel LLP, Chicago, IL, for Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

HARRY D. LEINENWEBER, District Judge.

Before the Court is Defendant Worldwide Asset Purchasing II, LLC's (hereinafter, " WAP II" ) Motion to Dismiss. For the following reasons, the Court grants the Motion.

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Shirley Davidson (hereinafter, " Davidson" or " Plaintiff" ) is a resident of Illinois. On November 30, 2007, Defendant Worldwide Asset Purchasing, LLC (" WAP I" ) sued Davidson to collect " an alleged debt incurred for personal, family or household purposes." Am. Compl. 7. On March 10, 2008, WAP I obtained a judgment in Illinois state court against Davidson and then collected on that judgment between June 2008 and July 2008. Subsequently, the judgment was vacated and the case dismissed on July 21, 2008.

Plaintiff alleges WAP I's actions violated the Illinois Collection Agency Act (the " ICAA" ) because, effective January 1, 2008, the act prohibited an unlicensed collection agency from engaging in debt collection within the state. 225 ILL. COMP. STAT. 425/4. The statute regulates when collection agencies may refer an account to an attorney, which Plaintiff contends makes clear that litigation is considered part of debt collection under the statute. Id. at 425/8a-1.

WAP I was not licensed as a collection agency in Illinois until September 4, 2008. (WAP II also became licensed on this date.) Plaintiff contends WAP I thus violated the law by obtaining the judgment and collecting on it while unlicensed.

WAP I is chartered under Nevada law and has its principal office in Nebraska. It is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Defendant West Receivable Services, Inc. (" West" ), a Delaware Corporation with its principal place of business in Nebraska. WAP II is also chartered under Nevada law. It is wholly-owned by Galaxy Asset Purchasing, LLC (" GAP" ). GAP, in turn, is wholly owned by Galaxy Capital Inc. (" GC" ).

Plaintiff alleges West " directed the collection activities of both WAP [I] and WAP II while both were unlicensed," (Am. Compl. 3) and that West itself was unlicensed during 2008, when it owned both WAP I and WAP II.

Plaintiff alleges WAP II is ultimately owned by 14 individuals: Steve Sherrill, Richard Lundeberg, Darrell T. Hanna, Stephanie A. Hanna, Susan Vasiliadis, Kenneth S. Hurt, Joseph Barbito, Deidri McBrayer, Michael LaFleur, James Hanna, Sydney Hanna, Spencer Hanna, Leslie Abstein III and Kelly Hebert.

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Darrell Hanna has been an officer of WAP I (the Complaint does not say when), as has Mr. Lundeberg. Plaintiff further alleges that " WAP [I] and WAP II were acting in a common course" of action and that " defendants had common employees and managers directing each defendant's actions as a collection agency [and] defendants used common procedures and practices." Am. Compl. 4. " [D]efendants were, in fact, distinguishable by name only." Id.

Finally, Plaintiff alleges " Defendants jointly and cooperatively participated in a common course of conduct— namely, the collection of debts without being properly licensed— contrary to the ICAA, through actions of common employees and managers, and practices equally applicable to each defendant." Id. at 7. In her response brief, Plaintiff maintains that this last sentence in the Complaint supports the inference that " all defendants, including WAP II, are ...


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