United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Z. LEE United States District Judge.
Steven Carter alleges that Defendant Monarch Recovery, Inc.
(“Monarch”), sent him a debt-collection letter
that contained false, misleading, or deceptive language, in
violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
(“FDCPA”), 15 U.S.C. § 1692, et
seq. Carter also contends that Monarch's letter
violated provisions of the Illinois Collection Agency Act
(“ICAA”), 225 Ill. Comp. Stat. 425/9(a). Both
parties have filed motions for summary judgment. For the
reasons stated herein, Monarch's motion is granted, and
Carter's motion is denied.
Steven Carter is a resident of Chicago, Illinois, and
Defendant Monarch Recovery Management, Inc., is a
Pennsylvania corporation which collects debts on behalf of
third parties. Def.'s LR 56.1(a)(3) Stmt. ¶¶ 1,
2, ECF No. 31; Pl.'s LR 56.1(a)(3) Stmt. ¶ 9, ECF
No. 38. In 2016, Carter defaulted on a credit-card debt to
Citibank. Pl.'s LR 56.1(a)(3) Stmt. ¶ 6. Citibank
“charged off” the account in October 2015 with a
balance of $16, 743.33, id. ¶ 7, and, on May
23, 2016, Citibank placed Carter's account with Monarch
for collection, id. ¶ 8. The balance remained
$16, 743.33. Id.
25, 2016, Monarch sent Carter a debt-collection letter
seeking $16, 743.33 and stating, in relevant part:
Because of interest, late charges, and other charges that may
vary from day to day, the amount due on the day you pay may
be greater. Hence, if you pay the amount shown above, an
adjustment may be necessary after we receive your check, in
which event we will inform you before depositing the check
Id. ¶ 10. In short, Monarch's letter
informed Carter that the balance of $16, 743.33 might
increase by the time Carter were to pay it. See id.
did not have its own authority to add additional charges for
accounts that it received from creditors, such as interest or
late fees. But creditors such as Citibank would sometimes add
additional such fees. Id. ¶ 14; Pl.'s Ex.
C, Mazzacano Dep. at 20:15, 21:21-22:1, ECF No. 38-4. Monarch
would then pass on these additional fees to the consumer.
Pl.'s LR 56.1(a)(3) Stmt. ¶ 14. Here, however,
Citibank and Monarch never added additional fees to the $16,
743.33 amount. Id. ¶¶ 16, 17.
deciding a motion for summary judgment under Federal Rule
of Civil Procedure 56, the Court views the evidence in
the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Shell
v. Smith, 789 F.3d 715, 717 (7th Cir. 2015). The motion
will be granted if there is no genuine dispute of material
fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of
law. Id. Rule 56 “requires the district court
to grant a motion for summary judgment after discovery
‘against a party who fails to make a showing sufficient
to establish the existence of an element essential to that
party's case, and on which that party will bear the
burden of proof at trial.'” Silverman v. Bd. of
Educ. of City of Chi., 637 F.3d 729, 743 (7th Cir. 2011)
(quoting Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322
moving party has the initial burden of establishing that
there is no genuine issue of material fact. See
Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322. Once the moving party has
sufficiently demonstrated the absence of a genuine issue of
material fact, the nonmoving party must then set forth
specific facts showing there are disputed material facts that
must be decided at trial. See id. at 321-22. The
Court must not make credibility determinations or weigh
conflicting evidence. McCann v. Iroquois Mem'l
Hosp., 622 F.3d 745, 752 (7th Cir. 2010).
Carter's FDCPA Claim
to Carter, the language in Monarch's letter violated the
FDCPA because it falsely, deceptively, or misleadingly
represented that Monarch might add additional charges to the
$16, 743.33 balance, even though Monarch had neither the
intention nor authority to do so. In seeking summary judgment
on Carter's claim, Monarch argues that Carter has
produced insufficient evidence ...