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Gregory v. Medical-Dental Bureau of York

July 26, 2010

TODD GREGORY PLAINTIFF,
v.
THE MEDICAL-DENTAL BUREAU OF YORK AND ADAMS COUNTY, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



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

Chief Judge Kane

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

I. Statement of Facts and of the Case

This is an action brought by Todd Gregory under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. §1692, et seq. In his complaint, Gregory alleges that he was subjected to unfair and unlawful debt collection practices by the Defendants, and seeks attorney's fees and damages. (Doc. 1.) Gregory's complaint also makes class action allegations, asserting that he may represent a broader class of affected consumers. (Id.) While the Plaintiff has made these class allegations in the complaint, a review of the docket in this case reveals that the parties have made no further effort to address these class certification issues with the district court. Thus, no motion for class certification has been filed by the Plaintiff. Moreover, the scope of the discovery proposed by Plaintiff's counsel in this action in the case management plan would not appear to be consistent with a broad ranging class action lawsuit. (Doc. 16.)*fn1

On June 15, 2010, this case was referred to the undersigned for resolution of a discovery dispute between the parties. (Docs. 19 and 20.) This discovery dispute relates to three requests for admissions propounded by the Defendants, and objected to by the Plaintiff. The three requests for admission, and the Plaintiff's objections, are set forth below:

1. You did not notify Defendant in writing within 30 days of receipt of the first correspondence from Defendant that you disputed the validity of the underlying debt Defendant was seeking to collect from you.

Response: Objection to relevance. Whether Plaintiff disputed the alleged debt has no bearing on whether Plaintiff committed an FDCPA violation in the letter complained of.

3. On at least one occasion since 1/15/09, you have disposed of one or more items received in the mail without opening or looking at the item(s).

Response: Objection to relevance. Whether Plaintiff disposed of one or more items received in the mail without opening the item has no bearing on whether Plaintiff committed an FDCPA violation. Plaintiff also objects because the question is overly broad and vague. * * * * * *

4. Admit that of the 16 or more FDCPA cases filed by your attorney, only one has been tried and all others were dismissed.

Response: Objection to relevance. Whether Plaintiff's attorney has tried, won, lost or settled cases has no bearing whatsoever on the merits of Plaintiff's FDCPA claim. It should be noted that this action has not yet been certified for class treatment. If Defendant is asking this question to challenge the competency of Plaintiff's counsel for purposes of representing the class, Plaintiff further objects. Defendant does not have standing to raise this issue. Only class members or the Court have standing to challenge Plaintiffs counsel's competency to represent the class.

Following submissions of letters by the parties and a conference with counsel (Docs. 21-26), the Court ordered the Defendants to file a motion to compel and instructed the parties to submit briefs regarding this discovery issue. (Doc. 27.) Those briefs have now been filed by the parties, (Docs. 29-32), and this matter is ripe for resolution.

For the reasons set forth below, the Motion to Compel will be GRANTED, in ...


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