United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Z. Lee, United States District Judge
Jamie Washington (“Washington”) has sued
Defendant Convergent Outsourcing, Inc.
(“Convergent”) under the Fair Debt Collection
Practices Act (FDCPA), 15 U.S.C. § 1692 et seq.
Washington and Convergent have filed cross-motions for
summary judgment. For the reasons stated herein,
Washington's motion for summary judgment is denied, and
Convergent's motion for summary judgment is granted.
during or before 2013, Washington opened a consumer account
with Comcast. See Pl.'s LR 56.1(a)(3) Stmt.
¶ 5, ECF No. 41-1; Def.'s LR 56.1(b)(3) Stmt. ¶
49, ECF No. 54. On December 5, 2013, Comcast referred an
unpaid bill of $1, 001 associated with Washington's
account to Convergent for collection. Def.'s LR
56.1(b)(3) Stmt. ¶ 49. In turn, in October 2014,
Convergent reported an unpaid balance of $1, 001 on
Washington's account to various credit reporting bureaus,
including Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. Pl.'s LR
56.1(a)(3) Stmt. ¶ 17.
the same time, Washington met with legal aid attorneys to
address potential concerns that she had with her credit
report. Id. ¶ 8. Upon reviewing her credit
report, Washington told her attorneys that she did not
believe the debt Convergent had reported was accurate,
because she did not recall owing any balance on her Comcast
account. Id. ¶ 10. Accordingly, on October 17,
2014, Washington's attorneys sent Convergent a letter
stating that the amount reported on the debt was not
accurate. Id. ¶¶ 11, 14.
Convergent received this letter, one of its employees updated
Washington's account to reflect the letter's contents
per company policy. Def.'s LR 56.1(b)(3) Stmt.
¶¶ 40-41, 53. In the course of updating the
account, however, Convergent's employee made an error:
the employee updated Washington's account by marking it
with the code “3ACA” instead of
“3DSP.” Id. ¶ 54.
“3ACA” denotes that a consumer is represented by
an attorney, whereas “3DSP” denotes that a
consumer is represented by an attorney and disputes
the debt in her account. Id. ¶ 43. Convergent
acknowledges that Washington disputed her debt and that her
account should therefore have been marked with the code
“3DSP.” Id. ¶¶ 29, 31.
March 30, 2015, Comcast informed Convergent that Comcast
would no longer be including “equipment charges”
in account balances placed with Convergent for collection.
Id. ¶ 56. Comcast also informed Convergent that
all such charges would be removed from existing accounts no
later than April 30, 2015. Id.
57. Accordingly, on April 19, 2015, Comcast removed a $680
equipment charge from Washington's account, leaving a
balance of about $321. Id. ¶ 58.
that month, Convergent communicated the updated balance
amount of $321 to Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.
Pl.'s LR 56.1(a)(3) Stmt. ¶ 19. In so doing,
Convergent failed to also communicate that the debt was
disputed. Id. ¶ 22. If Convergent's
employee had properly coded Washington's account with
“3DSP” rather than “3ACA, ” then the
information communicated to Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion
in April 2015 would have reflected that Washington disputed
the debt. Def.'s LR 56.1(b)(3) Stmt. ¶ 55.
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); see also Shell v. Smith, 789
F.3d 715, 717 (7th Cir. 2015). 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 instead 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. 2012). In reviewing a motion for summary judgment,
courts “must construe all facts and reasonable
inferences in favor of the nonmoving party.” Dorsey
v. Morgan Stanley, 507 F.3d 624, 627 (7th Cir. 2007).
But “[i]nferences that are supported by only
speculation or conjecture will not defeat a summary judgment
motion.” Id. (quoting McDonald v. Vill. of
Winnetka, 371 F.3d 992, 1001 (7th Cir. 2004)) (internal
quotation marks omitted).
False Representation of the Amount of a Debt
the FDCPA, “[a] debt collector may not use any false,
deceptive, or misleading representation or means in
connection with the collection of any debt, ” including
any false representation about the amount of a debt. 15
U.S.C. §§ 1692e, 1692e(2)(A). Washington claims
that Convergent violated the FDCPA by falsely representing