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Starks v. Mages & Price LLC

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

March 10, 2015

CHRISTIANA STARKS, Plaintiff,
v.
MAGES & PRICE LLC, Defendant.

ORDER

MANISH S. SHAH, District Judge.

Defendant's motion for summary judgment [34] is granted. Status hearing previously set for 3/11/15 is stricken. Enter judgment in favor of defendant, and terminate civil case.

STATEMENT

Plaintiff Christiana Starks claims defendant Mages & Price LLC violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act when it allowed her employer to garnish her wages even after she filed for bankruptcy. Defendant moves for summary judgment on all claims.

Legal Standard

Summary judgment is appropriate if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Spurling v. C & M Fine Pack, Inc., 739 F.3d 1055, 1060 (7th Cir. 2014). A genuine dispute as to any material fact exists if "the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). The party seeking summary judgment has the burden of establishing that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact. See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986).

Background

The material facts are not in dispute. Defendant was retained to collect a debt plaintiff owed to non-party Johnny Leblanc. Defendant filed suit against plaintiff on the debt, judgment was entered against plaintiff, and a garnishment order was served on her employer, North Shore University Health System. Plaintiff filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection shortly thereafter.

Defendant got notice of plaintiff's bankruptcy on March 19, 2014. That same day, defendant sent[*] a letter to North Shore, "Attention: Payroll, " stating [39-4] (original emphasis):

Pursuant to the above referenced matter, please be advised that Christiana J[.] Starks has filed Bankruptcy and we are no longer able to garnish her wages. Please return any garnished wages to the possession of the Defendant, Christiana J[.] Starks.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our office.

The next day, North Shore garnished plaintiff's wages and sent a check to defendant. Defendant did not cash the check. Instead, on March 26, 2014, it sent a letter to North Shore returning the check and stating [39-5] (original emphasis):

Pursuant to the above referenced matter, please be advised that Christiana J[.] Starks (Reyz) has filed Bankruptcy and we are no longer able to garnish her wages. Please return the check in the amount of ...

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