United States District Court, C.D. Illinois
DEBBIE H. LAMPERT, Plaintiff,
WELTMAN, WEINBERG & REIS CO., L PA, Defendant.
ORDER AND OPINION
E. SHADID, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is now before the Court on Defendant's Motion
(Doc. 18) for Summary Judgment. Plaintiff has filed a
Response (Doc. 21), to which Defendant has filed a Reply
(Doc. 22). For the reasons set forth below, Defendant's
Motion (Doc. 18) is GRANTED.
Debbie Lampert, alleges in her Complaint that Defendant,
Weltman, Weinberg & Reis Co., L PA
(“Weltman”), violated the Fair Debt Collection
Practices Act (“FDCPA”), 15 U.S.C. § 1692g
et seq., when it failed to cease collection
activities following Plaintiff's request for verification
of the debt. Doc. 1. Under the FDCPA, if a consumer notifies
a debt collector in writing within the 30-day period
following the debt collector's initial communication to
the consumer that the debt is disputed, or the consumer
requests verification of the debt, the debt collector must
cease collection of the debt until the debt collector obtains
and sends the consumer verification of the debt. 15 U.S.C.
following facts are undisputed by the parties. Plaintiff
incurred a financial obligation to Discover Bank and
defaulted on that debt some time in 2017. On November 3,
2017, Discover Bank placed the account balance owed of $5,
553.04 with Weltman for collection of the past due amount. On
November 22, 2017, Weltman sent Plaintiff an initial
collection letter seeking to collect the debt owed to
Discover Bank. Plaintiff alleges in her Complaint that on
November 27, 2017, she mailed Weltman a letter to dispute the
validity of the debt and to seek verification of the
debt. On February 2, 2018, Weltman filed a
collection lawsuit in the Circuit Court of the 10th Judicial
Circuit, Tazewell County, Illinois captioned as Discover
Bank v. Debbie H. Lampert, 2018 S.C. 137 (the
“collection lawsuit”). The collection lawsuit
stated that the amount due and owing was the sum of $5,
553.04 and attached a copy of the Discover Card Account
Summary showing the same amount owed. Doc. 21, at 2.
November 22, 2017, when Weltman sent an initial collection
letter to Plaintiff, and February 2, 2018, when Weltman filed
a collection lawsuit on behalf of Discover Bank, Weltman did
not send correspondence to Plaintiff with verification of her
debt. Plaintiff claims in her Response to Defendant's
Motion for Summary Judgment that on December 1, 2017 at 11:04
a.m., she faxed a three-page document to Weltman's fax
number of (216) xxx-4121 from Plaintiff's fax number of
(309) xxx-1939. Plaintiff has produced an alleged fax
confirmation transmission page dated December 1, 2017
together with an unsigned two-page letter addressed to
Weltman. Doc. 21, at 3; Doc. 18-6.
judgment is appropriate where the movant shows, through
“materials in the record, including depositions,
documents, electronically stored information, affidavits or
declarations, stipulations … admissions, interrogatory
answers, or other materials” 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. In resolving a motion for summary judgment, “[t]he
court has one task and one task only: to decide, based on the
evidence of record, whether there is any material dispute of
fact that requires a trial.” Waldridge v. Am.
Hoechst Corp., 24 F.3d 918, 920 (7th Cir. 1994).
order to withstand a motion for summary judgment, the
nonmovant must “set forth specific facts showing that
there is a genuine issue for trial.” Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 250 (1986). When
presented with a motion for summary judgment, the Court must
construe the record “in the light most favorable to the
nonmovant and avoid the temptation to decide which
party's version of the facts is more likely true.”
Payne v. Pauley, 337 F.3d 767, 770 (7th Cir. 2003).
If the evidence, however, is “merely colorable, or is
not significantly probative or merely raises ‘some
metaphysical doubt as the material facts,' summary
judgment may be granted.” Liberty Lobby, 477
U.S. at 249-50. Thus, in order to overcome the undisputed
facts set forth in a defendants' motion for summary
judgment, a plaintiff cannot rest on the allegations in his
complaint but must point to affidavits, depositions or other
evidence of an admissible sort that a genuine dispute of
material fact exists between parties. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)(2);
Behrens v. Pelletier, 516 U.S. 299, 309 (1996).
Whether Plaintiff Submitted a Request for Verification to
Court first addresses whether Plaintiff submitted a request
for verification to Weltman, beginning with the factual
allegations in Defendant's Motion that Plaintiff asserts
are disputed. Defendant asserts that Weltman did not send
correspondence to Plaintiff with verification of her debt
because Weltman has no record of receiving any verification
request from Plaintiff. Doc. 18, at ¶8. Plaintiff
asserts this fact is disputed because, “[a]lthough
Weltman has no record of receiving Plaintiff's dispute
and request for verification, Plaintiff did in fact send a
dispute and request for verification to Weltman via fax to
Weltman's fax number.” Doc. 21, at 5.
Defendant's statement relates to whether Weltman has a
record of Plaintiff's verification request, not whether
Plaintiff actually sent the request or whether Weltman
actually received the request. Therefore, the statement of
fact is not properly disputed by Plaintiff, and the Court
will consider it as undisputed.
also asserts that AT&T, Weltman's telephone and fax
service provider, responded to Plaintiff's third-party
subpoena to produce all call details (incoming and outgoing)
related to fax number (216) xxx-4121 from November 1, 2017
through December 31, 2017, and that AT & T 's records
do not show that Weltman received any call from
Plaintiff's fax number on December 1, 2017 at 11:04 a.m.
Doc. 18, at ¶ 10. Plaintiff's response to this
proposed statement of fact is set forth in its entirety
Basis for Dispute: According to the fax confirmation sheet,
Plaintiff sent the fax to Weltman's fax number (216)
xxx-4121 on December 1, 2017 at 11:04 a.m. and the fax took 1
minute and 31 seconds to transmit. (Ex. 6). At 11:06 a.m.,
Plaintiff received confirmation that the fax was successfully
delivered to Weltman's fax number (216) xxx-4121. (Ex. 6;
Ex. 5, at 53:17- 19). AT&T's records indicate that
Weltman received a total of three faxes at 16:06 Coordinated
Universal Time (UTC), which is expressed in military time.
(Ex. 7, at Lampert 000012 and Lampert 000028). The 16:06 UTC
reflected on AT&T's records converts to 11:06 a.m.
Central Standard Time (CST), the precise time Plaintiff's
fax machine issued the fax confirmation sheet. (Ex. 6, Ex. 7,
at Lampert 000012 and Lampert 000028). ...