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Inman v. NCO Financial Systems

October 21, 2009

THOMAS INMAN
v.
NCO FINANCIAL SYSTEMS, INC.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Baylson, J.

MEMORANDUM RE: PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

This case is filed under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1692 et seq. ("FDCPA"), in which the Plaintiff, Thomas Inman ("Inman"), alleging claims on behalf of himself and a class under Fed. R. Civ. P. 23, seeks damages against Defendant NCO Financial Systems, Inc. ("NCO"), a debt collector with offices in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.

Plaintiff filed a Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. No. 10), asserting that the pleadings contained admissions of liability by the Defendant. In its response, Defendant raised a number of factual issues and requested discovery on the merits of the case, and argument was held on September 30, 2009.

At the heart of this dispute is a technology battle over the telephone system used by the Defendant to contact and leave prerecorded messages for persons who allegedly owe money to Defendant's clients, and a voicemail system used by the Plaintiff. The parties assert broad and significant differences over how these different technologies were supposed to work, and how they worked in actuality. The Court sees no need to discuss these issues -- let alone decide them -- until discovery has taken place and appropriate further motions have been filed.

When Congress enacted the FDCPA in 1977, none of this technology existed. Courts may be the wrong place to synthesize Congress' intent regarding the rights of debtors and debt collectors in the context of computer-based technology that Congress could not possibly have envisioned.

I. Undisputed Facts

However, the Court can and will grant partial summary judgment under Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(d), because the pleadings, together with the Statements of Undisputed Facts filed by the Plaintiff in connection with the undersigned's practice order concerning Rule 56 motions, and the Defendant's responses, warrant the Court making the following factual findings:

1. Jurisdiction exists and Venue is proper. (Compl. ¶¶ 9 and 11; Answer ¶¶ 9 and 11; Pl.'s Statement of Uncontested Mat. Facts ¶1; Def.'s Resp. to Pl.'s Statement of Uncontested Mat. Facts ¶1.)

2. At all times relevant to the Complaint, NCO is a for-profit business corporation existing pursuant to the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. NCO maintains its principal business address at 507 Prudential Road, in Horsham Township, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. NCO is a citizen of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. (Compl. ¶13; Answer ¶13; Pl.'s Statement of Uncontested Mat. Facts ¶2; Def.'s Resp. to Pl.'s Statement of Uncontested Mat. Facts ¶2.)

3. NCO collects, and attempts to collect, debts incurred, or alleged to have been incurred, for personal, family, or household purposes on behalf of creditors using the U.S. Mail, telephone, and internet. (Compl. ¶19; Answer ¶19; Pl.'s Statement of Uncontested Mat. Facts ¶3; Def.'s Resp. to Pl.'s Statement of Uncontested Mat. Facts ¶3.)

4. NCO's records reflect that a certain indebtedness by Plaintiff to American Express (US) account No. ending 1004 was placed with NCO for collection on or about June 17, 2008. (Answer ¶18; Pl.'s Statement of Uncontested Mat. Facts ¶4; Def.'s Resp. to Pl.'s Statement of Uncontested Mat. Facts ¶4.)

5. Plaintiff incurred a financial obligation to American Express, and defaulted on that obligation. (Answer ¶15; Pl.'s Statement of Uncontested Mat. Facts ¶5; Def.'s Resp. to Pl.'s Statement of Uncontested Mat. Facts ¶5.)

6. When NCO acts as a "debt collector" as defined by 15 U.S.C. § 1692a(6), its debt collection efforts may be regulated under certain provisions of the FDCPA. (Answer ¶20.)

7. NCO's records reflect that on and after June 17, 2008, it attempted to contact Plaintiff by telephone in connection with its efforts to collect certain indebtedness on American Express (US) account No. ending 1004. (Answer ¶¶ 21, 22 and 28; Pl.'s Statement of Uncontested Mat. Facts ¶6; Def.'s Resp. to Pl.'s Statement of Uncontested Mat. Facts ¶6.)

8. NCO's records reflect that automated telephone calls were placed on the dates and times alleged in ΒΆ 24 of ...


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