United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Z. Lee United States District Judge
Lee Seamans filed suit against Paris Tauriac, Les Covington,
and Hoffman, Swartz and Associates, Inc. (HSA), alleging
violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practice Act (FDCPA)
and fraud. Initially, Seamans obtained a default judgment
against all defendants, but the judgment against Tauriac was
vacated. Seamans and Tauriac have filed cross motions for
summary judgment. The Court grants Tauriac's motion 
and denies Seamans's motion .
and Procedural Background
Swartz and Associates, Inc. (HSA), is a Georgia corporation
engaged in the business of debt collection. In that role, HSA
acquires debts from the original creditor and attempts to
collect on at least a portion of the amount owed. So, for
instance, if HSA is able to contact a debtor, they try to set
up a payment schedule that allows the debtor to pay back the
debt over time. See Tr. 5/29/14 Hr'g at
19:23-20:4, ECF No. 63.
May 15, 2013, Defendant Paris Tauriac was the sole owner of
the company. See Id. at 12:4-7. On that date,
Tauriac entered into a Stock Purchase Agreement in which she
agreed to sell HSA. See Def.'s LR 56.1 Stmt.
¶ 7, ECF No. 86. In addition to transferring the ownership
in the business and its assets (including its accounts), the
Agreement dictated what would happen to the accounts
receivable-that is, the debts HSA was attempting to collect.
Under the Agreement, Tauriac would retain proceeds from debts
acquired prior to May 15, 2013, and the buyer would receive
payments on debts acquired thereafter. See Pl.'s
56.1 Stmt., Ex. C (“SPA”) § 6.1, ECF No. 84.
the Agreement transferred all of HSA's accounts to the
new owner, Tauriac remained in control of a business bank
account where debtors' payments were deposited. See
id., Ex. F. Tauriac testified (and Plaintiff points to
no contrary evidence in the record) that, because the payment
plans HSA negotiated with debtors could extend for many
months, funds collected from pre-May 15 debts were still
being transferred into the account even after the sale of the
business. For a few months following the sale of HSA, Tauriac
would review the funds that came into the account, keeping
money collected from pre-May 15th debts and forwarding along
to HSA money from post-May 15 debts. See id.
June 11, 2013, Plaintiff Lee Seamans received a call from HSA
attempting to collect on a debt. See Id. ¶ 3.
The debt, however, had been previously discharged in
Seamans's bankruptcy proceeding earlier that year.
See Id. ¶ 1. Seamans filed suit against HSA,
Tauriac, and Les Covington (the HSA employee that called
Seamans) alleging violations of the FDCPA. See
Compl., ECF No. 1.
the defendants responded to the complaint, and the Court
entered a default judgment against all three of them in the
amount of $50, 000. See Min. Order 11/20/13, ECF No.
16. Relying on the judgment, Seamans seized funds from two
personal bank accounts belonging to Tauriac. See
Def.'s LR 56.1 Stmt. ¶ 14. (Seamans contends that
the accounts were not Tauriac's personal property, but
belonged to HSA.)
the money was seized, Tauriac filed a motion to vacate the
judgment against her, arguing that she had not been properly
served. See Mot. Vacate, ECF No. 23. The Court held
a hearing at which it found that Tauriac had not been
properly served and vacated the default judgment against her.
See Tr. 5/29/14 Hr'g at 35:2-5.
then amended the complaint and added a claim for fraud
against Tauriac for making allegedly false statements during
the hearing. See Am. Compl. ¶¶ 73-80, ECF
Court shall grant summary judgment “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.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The Court gives “the non-moving
party the benefit of conflicts in the evidence and reasonable
inferences that could be drawn from it.”
Grochocinski v. Mayer Brown Rowe & Maw, LLP, 719
F.3d 785, 794 (7th Cir. 2013). In order to survive summary
judgment, the nonmoving party must “do more than simply
show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material
facts, ” Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith
Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986), and “must
establish some genuine issue for trial such that a reasonable
jury could return a verdict in her favor, ” Gordon
v. FedEx Freight, Inc., 674 F.3d 769, 772-73 (7th Cir.