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Paoletta v. Stock & Grimes

December 27, 2005

MICHAEL PAOLETTA, PLAINTIFF
v.
STOCK & GRIMES, LLP, ET AL., DEFENDANTS



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Magistrate Judge Smyser

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

This is a civil action brought by an individual, Michael L. Paoletta, under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1692,et seq., and the Pennsylvania Fair Credit Extension Uniformity Act, 73 P.S. § 2270.1, et seq.

The court has jurisdiction under 15 U.S.C. § 1692k(d), 28 U.S.C. § 1331, 1337 and 1391(b).

The amended complaint (Doc. 13) alleges that defendant Sherman Acquisitions, L.P. purchased and was assigned a debt owed by the plaintiff to Sears, Roebuck & Co. or Sears National Bank. It is alleged that Sherman is not licensed to do business in the Commonwealth or registered with the Pennsylvania Department of State. Defendant Stock and Grimes, LLP, is a Jenkintown, Pennsylvania law firm. Defendant Stock and defendant Grimes are attorneys. Defendant Ressler & Ressler is a Jenkintown, Pennsylvania law firm. Defendant Paul Ressler is an attorney.

The complaint states that at all pertinent times the defendants were hired to collect a debt relating to medical services originally owed to Sears. The plaintiff sent a letter of dispute to Sears seeking validation of the debt, on November 30, 2001. Sears did not respond. On September 22, 2003, an attorney for Sherman sent a letter to plaintiff Paoletta in which it was stated that Sherman had purchased the debt from Sears with a validation notice. On September 26, 2003, Paoletta responded stating that the debt was in dispute and requesting verification from Sherman "of account including but not limited to executed promissory note on the account, executed negotiable instruments on the account, contract between Sears and Paoletta on the account and accounting ledgers on the account", Doc. 13, ¶18, to which no response was received. In January of 2004, an employee of Stock & Grimes or of Ressler & Ressler, or of both, told Paoletta that "we will send the sheriff to your home" before validation of the debt.

On January 30, 2004, defendant Sherman, through defendant Stock and on behalf of defendant Ressler & Ressler, filed a debt collection civil complaint in Magisterial District Court in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania. A hearing was scheduled for March 24, 2004. On February 24, 2004, defendant Stock and defendant Stock & Grimes sent a letter to the plaintiff stating a hope that an "amicable resolution of this matter to avoid the necessity for our having to attend the hearing" could be achieved. Then, no defendant attended the hearing. The civil case was dismissed on March 19, 2004. A Notice of Judgment was entered in favor of plaintiff Paoletta.

Defendants Sherman, Stock, Stock & Grimes and Ressler & Ressler appealed the judgment. They filed a civil action complaint setting forth a claim identical to that as to which a judgment had been entered. The disposition of that civil action is not stated.

The plaintiff asserts that he has suffered injuries and sustained damages as the result of the alleged conduct of the defendants. He alleges that the defendants violated the FDCPA by:

a. Making false representation of the character, amount, or legal status of any debt allegedly owed by Plaintiff Paoletta;

b. Making false representation of any service rendered or compensation, which may be lawfully received by any debt collector for the collection of a debt;

c. Failing to produce any original documents of the alleged debt including actual existence of a promissory note by representing to have original documentations when in fact they could not be produced;

d. Making false representation that Sherman Acquisition, L.P., as Assignee of Sears, when it is not the holder in due course of the alleged debt;

e. Making false representation that Sherman Acquisition, L.P., as Assignee of Sears, actually purchased any alleged debt from Sears;

f. Making false representation or implication that the entire file has been thoroughly examined by an attorney and that all ...


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