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Gomez v. Midland Funding, LLC

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

December 31, 2014

EVELYN GOMEZ, Plaintiff,
v.
MIDLAND FUNDING, LLC, and MIDLAND CREDIT MANAGEMENT, INC., Defendants

For Evelyn Gomez, Plaintiff: Mario Kris Kasalo, LEAD ATTORNEY, The Law Office of M. Kris Kasalo, Ltd., Chicago, IL.

For Midland Funding, LLC, Midland Credit Management, Inc, Defendants: Heather L. Kramer, LEAD ATTORNEY, Todd A Gale, Dykema Gossett PLLC, Chicago, IL; Theodore Wilson Seitz, Dykema Gossett, PLLC, Lansing, MI.

Page 751

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Rubén Castillo, Chief United States District Judge.

Evelyn Gomez (" Plaintiff" ) brings this action against Midland Funding, LLC (" Midland" ) and Midland Credit Management, Inc. (" MCM" ) (collectively " Defendants" ) alleging violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (" FDCPA" ), 15 U.S.C. § 1692 et seq. (R. 1, Compl.) Presently before the Court is Defendants' motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1). (R. 5, Defs.' Mot. Dismiss.) For the reasons set forth below, the motion is denied.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff is an Illinois resident. (R. 1, Compl. ¶ 3.) Midland is a Delaware limited liability company with its principal place of business in San Diego, California. ( Id. ¶ 4.) MCM is a Kansas corporation with its principal place of business in San Diego, California. ( Id. ¶ 9.) Midland is a " debt scavenger" that regularly purchases

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large portfolios of defaulted consumer debts and attempts to collect them through debt collectors. ( Id. ¶ 7.) MCM is a collection agency that attempts to collect debts held by Midland. ( Id. ¶ 10.) Both Midland and MCM are alleged to be " debt collectors" within the meaning of the FDCPA. ( Id. ¶ ¶ 8, 12.)

On an unspecified date Plaintiff incurred a debt for purchases made on a consumer credit card. ( Id. ¶ 13.) She later defaulted on the debt. ( Id. 14.) Midland purchased Plaintiff's defaulted debt, and retained the law firm of Blatt, Hasenmiller, Leibsker & Moore, LLC (" Blatt" ) to collect the debt. ( Id. ¶ ¶ 15-16.) In February 2014, Blatt filed a complaint against Plaintiff in the Circuit Court of Cook County to collect the debt, which was listed as $2,416. ( Id. ¶ 17; R. 1-1, Compl., Ex. E, State Ct. Compl.) During that same month, MCM allegedly took steps to collect an additional $193 on this same debt, which Plaintiff believes was an error. (R. 1, Compl. ¶ 21.) In March 2014, Plaintiff filed an appearance in the state lawsuit through counsel. ( Id. ¶ 32.) A few days later, Plaintiff's counsel sent a copy of the appearance to Blatt, and notified Blatt that Plaintiff was disputing the debt. ( Id. ¶ 33.) Blatt communicated this information to Midland. ( Id. ¶ 35.) In May 2014, MCM, acting at the request of Midland, allegedly communicated credit information regarding the debt to a consumer reporting agency, but failed to mention that the debt was disputed. ( Id. ¶ ¶ 36, 38.)

In July 2014, Plaintiff brought this action against Midland and MCM, claiming that they violated the FDCPA by increasing the amount of the debt without a statutory or contractual basis to do so, and by communicating false credit information when they failed to report that the debt was disputed.[1] ( Id. 45-47.) Plaintiff does not seek any actual damages, and instead seeks statutory damages against both Midland and MCM, as well as attorneys' fees and costs. ( Id. ¶ 47.)

On August 19, 2014, Midland made an offer of judgment to Plaintiff pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 68,[2] agreeing to entry of judgment in the amount of $1,001, plus reasonable attorneys' fees and costs. (R. 6, Defs.' Mem., Ex. A, Offer of Judgment.) Plaintiff did not respond to the offer. ( See R. 6, Defs.' Mem. at 7.) On August 22, 2014, Defendants filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that this Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction because their offer of judgment mooted Plaintiff's claims. (R. 5, Defs.' Mot. Dismiss.) Plaintiff filed a response objecting to the dismissal of her case. (R. 19, Pl.'s Resp.) Thereafter, Defendants filed a reply in support of their motion. (R. 24, Defs.' Reply.)

LEGAL STANDARD

Rule 12(b)(1) provides for dismissal of a case when the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1). In ...


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