BRADLEY F. AUBEL, Plaintiff,
McGILL MANAGEMENT, INC. and FOSCO FULLETT ROSENLUND, P.C. k/n/a FULLETT ROSENLUND ANDERSON P.C., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
SHARON JOHNSON COLEMAN, District Judge.
Plaintiff Bradley F. Aubel ("Aubel") filed a two count complaint, alleging that defendant Fosco Fullett Rosenlund, P.C. k/n/a Fullett Rosenlund Anderson P.C. ("Fullett") violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. §§ 1692 et seq., ("FDCPA"), when Fullett filed a state eviction action against Aubel after he fell behind on condominium common expenses and failed to pay lawyer's fees associated with Fullett's attempt to collect the debt. The parties filed cross motions for summary judgment. Aubel argues that Fullett clearly abused the FDCPA. Fullett argues that it did not misrepresent the debt owed and even if any false representations were made, they were unintentional and not actionable under the bona fide error defense. For the following reasons, this Court grants Fullett's motion for summary judgment and denies Aubel's motion for summary judgment.
The facts of this case are largely undisputed. Plaintiff Aubel owns a unit in New Century Town Condominium Association No. 3 ("New Century") located in Lake County, Illinois. The condominium association is governed by the Declaration of Condominium Ownership and of Easements, Restrictions, and Covenants for New Century Town Condominium Association No.
3 ("Declaration"). Under the Declaration, New Century's association board can enter into an agreement for services of a managing agent. New Century entered into such an agreement with McGill Management, Inc. ("McGill"). As New Century's managing agent, McGill manages New Century's properties and regularly collects debts on the association's behalf for unpaid common expenses. Fullett is a law firm located in Lake County, Illinois that McGill retained to pursue legal action in the collection of debts owed to New Century. Under the Declaration, New Century's board could file a Forcible Entry and Detainer lawsuit for the failure to pay common expenses and collect all costs associated with enforcing a suit for nonpayment including attorneys' fees.
In the first half of 2009, Aubel fell behind on his common expense payments. The present conflict between the parties arises out of the billing statements and collection notice sent to Aubel in July and August 2009.
On July 3, 2009, Fullet sent Aubel a Notice and Demand for Possession ("Notice") on behalf of New Century. The Notice stated that Aubel owed $737.51 in common expenses and $217.23 in attorneys' fees and costs. It also provided Aubel 30 days to dispute the debt.
On July 7, 2009, Marilu Salazar, Aubel's assistant, called Fullett to request an explanation of the amounts due.
On July 13, 2009, Fullett sent Aubel a letter itemizing the debt, indicating a balance of $472.74 and "legal fees/costs" of $217.23 (Def. Ex. F, Dkt. #70-6).
On August 3, 2009, Aubel received the August 1, 2009, billing statement from New Century indicating a balance of $256.04.
On August 10, 2009, Marilu Salazar went to the condo association office to deliver a payment on behalf of Aubel and received a handwritten receipt in the amount of $258.00.
On August 7, 2009, McGill authorized Fullett to proceed with filing a state court complaint against Aubel.
On August 14, 2009, Fullett filed a complaint on behalf of McGill and New Century against Aubel in the Circuit Court of Lake County.
On September 1, 2009, Aubel received his billing statement from New Century showing a $258 credit on the account from August 11, ...