United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
JOANNA SANCHEZ, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
JOHN LEE JACKSON and UNIVERSAL FIDELITY, LP, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Robert Blakey United States District Judge.
Joanna Sanchez (“Plaintiff”) alleges that
Defendants John Lee Jackson (“Jackson”) and
Universal Fidelity, LP (“Universal”)
(collectively, “Defendants”) violated the Fair
Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”), 15
U.S.C. §§ 1692, et seq., by failing to
provide a proper debt validation notice to Plaintiff. First
Am. Comp. . On September 15, 2016, Defendants filed a
motion to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6). Defs.' Mot. Dismiss . For the reasons
explained below, Defendants' motion is denied.
sets forth the following relevant facts, which the Court
accepts as true for the purposes of Defendants' Motion to
Dismiss. Sometime before the spring of 2016, Plaintiff, an
Illinois resident, incurred a consumer debt from a Montgomery
Ward credit account. First Am. Compl.  ¶ 10.
Plaintiff did not pay the debt and it went into default.
Id. ¶ 11.
is a debt collection agency with its principal place of
business in Houston, Texas. Id. ¶¶ 8-9. On or
about March 22, 2016, Universal sent a notice to Plaintiff
regarding her outstanding debt.
addition to its own collection efforts, Universal also
retained Jackson, an independent Texas attorney, to assist in
the collection of outstanding debts. First Am. Compl. 
Ex. B. On or about May 9, 2016, Jackson sent a one-page,
two-sided collection letter to Plaintiff. Id. The
letter constituted Jackson's initial communication with
Plaintiff. First Am. Compl.  ¶ 16. The letterhead
provided Jackson's name and address and identified
Jackson as an “ATTORNEY ON RETAINER FOR UNIVERSAL
FIDELITY LP.” First Am. Compl.  Ex. B. In the body
of the letter, Jackson stated the following:
I am an Attorney and I am on retainer with Universal
Fidelity LP. I am not an employee of Universal
Fidelity LP and only advise them of corporate law and
therefore advise them on legal matters. This letter is being
sent to you because I am involved in the collection
strategy of the outstanding accounts owed to them. You
will not be sued by Universal Fidelity LP or by me, this is
just a collection letter to request you pay this account owed
to Montgomery Ward.
Their records indicate that you are indebted to them for the
amount of $182.94. Universal Fidelity LP offers convenient
payment options to help you satisfy this claim. I have
received the files from Universal Fidelity LP Electronically
[sic] and conducted a cursory review and approved the release
of these letters. Do not consider this letter a notification
of intent to sue: since I do not have the legal authority to
sue and Universal Fidelity LP will not sue you, this is a
request for payment only: I have not, nor will I, review the
detail of your account status.
Id. (emphasis added) (other emphasis removed). The
bottom of Jackson's letter stated, “This is an
attempt to collect a debt and any information obtained will
be used for that purpose. This communication is from a debt
collector.” Id. (emphasis in original). The
bottom of the letter also provided a payment slip addressed
to Universal. Id.
reverse side of Jackson's letter stated, in relevant part
(and in all caps), the following:
UNLESS YOU NOTIFY UNIVERSAL FIDELITY LP, WITHIN 30
DAYS AFTER RECEIVING YOUR INITIAL NOTICE THAT YOU DISPUTE THE
VALIDITY OF THIS DEBT OR ANY PORTION THEREOF, UNIVERSAL
FIDELITY LP WILL ASSUME THIS DEBT IS VALID. IF YOU
NOTIFY UNIVERSAL FIDELITY LP IN WRITING WITHIN 30
DAYS FROM RECEIVING YOUR INITIAL NOTICE, UNIVERSAL
FIDELITY LP WILL OBTAIN VERIFICATION OF THE DEBT OR
OBTAIN A COPY OF A JUDGEMENT [SIC] AND MAIL YOU A COPY OF
SUCH JUDGEMENT [SIC] OR VERIFICATION. IF YOU MAKE A REQUEST
TO UNIVERSAL FIDELITY LP IN WRITING WITHIN 30 DAYS
AFTER RECEIVING YOUR INITIAL NOTICE, UNIVERSAL FIDELITY
LP WILL PROVIDE YOU WITH THE NAME AND ADDRESS OF THE
ORIGINAL CREDITOR, IF DIFFERENT FROM THE CURRENT CREDITOR.
Id. (emphasis added). Plaintiff did not receive any
further communication from Jackson aside from the May 9, 2016
correspondence. First Am. Compl.  ¶ 23.
16, 2016, Plaintiff filed a class action suit in this Court.
August 25, 2016, Plaintiff filed her First Amended Complaint
. In her sole count, Plaintiff alleges that Defendants
violated § 1692g(a) of the FDCPA.
§ 1692g(a) provides that “in either the initial
communication with a consumer in connection with the
collection of a debt or another written notice sent within
five days of the first, a debt collector must provide
specific information to the consumer.” Janetos v.
Fulton Friedman & Gullace, LLP, 825 F.3d 317, 320-31
(7th Cir. 2016). Specifically, § 1692g(a) states:
Within five days after the initial communication with a
consumer in connection with the collection of any debt, a
debt collector shall, unless the following information is
contained in the initial communication or the consumer has
paid the debt, send the consumer a written notice containing-
(1) the amount of the debt;
(2) the name of the creditor to whom the debt ...