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Simpson v. Safeguard Properties, LLC

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

May 7, 2015

LUCILLE SIMPSON, on behalf of plaintiff and a class, Plaintiff,
v.
SAFEGUARD PROPERTIES, LLC, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER

JOAN B. GOTTSCHALL, District Judge.

On April 2, 2013, Plaintiff Lucille Simpson brought a putative class-action suit against Safeguard Properties, LLC ("Safeguard"). Simpson alleges that Safeguard is a debt collector within the meaning of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act ("FDCPA") and that Safeguard violated the FDCPA by (1) failing to provide Simpson with notice required under the Act, (2) failing to disclose that Safeguard was attempting to collect a debt, and (3) failing to use its own name in its debt-collection business. The court granted Simpson's renewed motion for class certification on September 17, 2014. See Simpson v. Safeguard Properties, LLC, No. 13-cv-2453, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 130659 (N.D. Ill. Sept. 17, 2014). Safeguard now moves for reconsideration of that ruling. For the reasons stated below, the motion is denied.

I. LEGAL STANDARD

Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(b), a court may reconsider its interlocutory orders "at any time before the entry of judgment adjudicating all the claims." Fed.R.Civ.P. 54(b); see also Galvan v. Norberg, 678 F.3d 581, 587 (7th Cir. 2012) ("Rule 54(b) provides that non-final orders may be revised at any time before the entry of a judgment adjudicating all the claims and all the parties' rights and liabilities.") (quotation marks omitted). But a motion to reconsider is not a vehicle to rehash an argument the court has already rejected or to present legal arguments that were not presented earlier. See Shilke v. Wachovia Mortg., FSB, 758 F.Supp.2d 549, 554 (N.D. Ill. 2010). A motion to reconsider allows a party to bring only manifest errors of fact or law to the court's attention or to present newly discovered evidence. See Miller v. Safeco Ins. Co. of Am., 683 F.3d 805, 813 (7th Cir. 2012). "To be within a mile of being granted, a motion for reconsideration has to give the tribunal to which it is addressed a reason for changing its mind." Ahmed v. Ashcroft, 388 F.3d 247, 249 (7th Cir. 2004).

II. DISCUSSION

Safeguard contends that the court erred in finding that Simpson satisfied the numerosity, typicality, commonality, and predominance requirements under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23. The court accordingly revisits its ruling on each of these requirements.

A. Numerosity

Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(a)(1) requires that the class be "so numerous that joinder of all members is impracticable." Where the class members are at least 40, joinder is generally considered impracticable. Swanson v. Am. Consumer Indus., 415 F.2d 1326, 1333 (7th Cir. 1969). A plaintiff need not allege the exact number or identity of class members. See Vergara v. Hampton, 581 F.2d 1281, 1284 (7th Cir. 1978) ("The difficulty in determining the exact number of class members does not preclude class certification."). Where the precise size of the class cannot be known until after discovery is completed, the court may still find that the numerosity requirement is met. Smith v. Short Term Loans, No. 99 C 1288, 2001 WL 127303, at *13 (N.D. Ill. Feb. 14, 2001).

Here, Safeguard does not contest its executive's statements that Safeguard performed 10, 908 "contact-attempt inspections" in Illinois on behalf of Midland Mortgage Company ("Midland"). Instead, Safeguard stresses that it determined through those inspections that some of the subject properties were abandoned, in which case no consumer would have been present to see the door hanger(s) Safeguard left. Safeguard thus argues that the court erred in finding the class sufficiently numerous because Simpson "failed to demonstrate that a sufficient number of class individuals actually received the door hangers." (Mot. at 14.)

The court, however, addressed this argument in its opinion:

Even if, as is likely, the number of individuals who received door hangers is less than 10, 908, Safeguard has not offered any evidence that the number of individuals (as opposed to abandoned properties) who received door hangers is not high enough to satisfy numerosity. The 10, 908 hangers establish that at least some of those involved debt-collection activities. Safeguard has offered no reason for the court to believe that all but 40 (or fewer) of those door hangers were left on abandoned properties. The court can safely assume that the number of individuals who received door hangers satisfies the numerosity requirement, even if the actual number falls short of 10, 908. The failure to provide a precise number does not prevent Simpson from satisfying the numerosity requirement.

Simpson, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 130659, at *7.

Safeguard offers no authority for the proposition that Simpson must identify the precise number of individuals in the class to meet the numerosity requirement. As the court previously posited, such precision is unnecessary. See N.B. v. Hamos, 26 F.Supp. 3d 756, 770 (N.D. Ill. 2014) (citing Marcial v. Coronet Ins. Co., 880 F.2d 954, 957 (7th Cir. 1989) ("plaintiffs are not required to specify the exact number of persons in the class")); and Vergara v. Hampton, 581 F.2d 1281, 1284 (7th Cir. 1978) ("The difficulty in determining the exact number of class members does not ...


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