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Mary Alamo v. Abc Financial Services

January 20, 2011

MARY ALAMO, PLAINTIFF,
v.
ABC FINANCIAL SERVICES, INC., DEFENDANT.



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

OPINION

I. Introduction

Before the Court is the Motion for Summary Judgment of Defendant ABC Financial Services, Inc. ("ABC") (Doc. No. 14). On December 1, 2009, Plaintiff Mary Alamo ("Alamo") commenced this action against ABC Financial Services, Inc. (Doc. No. 1). In the Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant violated multiple provisions of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (the "FDCPA"). Plaintiff seeks actual and statutory damages. (Doc. No. 1 ¶¶ 1, 23.) For the following reasons, the Court will grant Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment.

II. Procedural History

As noted, on December 1, 2009, Plaintiff filed a Complaint against Defendant alleging violations of the FDCPA (Doc. No. 1). On January 13, 2010, Defendant filed an Answer (Doc. No. 2). On June 15, 2010, Defendant filed the instant Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. No.14). On June 25, 2010, Plaintiff filed a Response in Opposition to Defendant's Motion (Doc. No. 15). Thereafter, on July 1, 2010, Defendant filed a Reply in Support of its Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. No. 17). In accord with an Order of this Court dated July 2, 2010 (Doc. No. 18), Plaintiff filed a Statement of Material Facts in Response to the Statement of Undisputed Facts set forth by Defendant in its Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. No. 19). Defendant filed a Reply to Plaintiff's Response to Defendant's Statement of Undisputed Facts and a Response to Plaintiff's Counterstatement of Facts (Doc. No. 21). Plaintiff filed a Reply in Response to Defendant's Response to Plaintiff's Counterstatement of Facts (Doc. No. 23).

On September 10, 2010, the parties had a telephone conference with United States Magistrate Judge Carol Sandra Moore Wells. As a result of that conference, the parties agreed, in a stipulation approved by this Court, that there are no issues of material fact that would preclude the Court from deciding Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment (the "Stipulation"). (Doc. No. 31 ¶ 2). The parties further agreed to waive oral argument on the Motion. (Id. ¶ 3.)

III. Facts*fn1

On November 1, 2007, Defendant and K.K. Alliance, Inc., an entity doing business and commonly known as Gold's Gym Wyomissing ("Gold's Gym") entered into a Billing Services Agreement dated October 31, 2007 (the "Billing Services Agreement"). (Doc. No. 14, Exhibit ("Ex.") A ¶ 6; Doc. No. 14, Ex. C.) Under the Billing Services Agreement, Defendant agreed to "bill, service and account for all acceptable membership agreements of [Gold's Gym] that have been delivered to Defendant from time to time under this Agreement." (Doc. No. 14, Ex. C ¶ 2.)

On October 13, 2008, Plaintiff executed a Membership Agreement with Gold's Gym (the "Membership Agreement") (Doc. No. 14 ¶ 1; Id., Ex. B). Pursuant to the terms of the Membership Agreement, Plaintiff purchased an annual membership with Gold's Gym commencing on October 2, 2008 (the "Alamo Account") and agreed to pay a membership fee of $26 per month. (Doc. No. 14 ¶ 2; Id., Ex. B.) At the time Plaintiff executed the Membership Agreement, Plaintiff paid two months of membership fees (apparently the first and last month installments) totaling $52, plus a one-time enrollment fee of $19.88, for a combined payment of $71.88. (See Doc. No. 14 ¶ 3.) Pursuant to the terms of the Membership Agreement, Plaintiff was obligated to make ten additional monthly payments in the amount of $26 per month, with the first monthly payment due on November 20, 2008. (Id. ¶ 4.)

Defendant received the Alamo Account from Gold's Gym on November 11, 2008, (Doc. No. 14 ¶ 5; Id., Ex. A ¶ 12). From November 20, 2008 through April 20, 2009, Defendant submitted for payment to Plaintiff's Visa card the $26 monthly fee owed under the Alamo Account as authorized by Plaintiff in the Membership Agreement. (See Doc. No. 14 ¶ 6; Id., Ex. A ¶ 16.) Defendant received payment from the Visa Card for the months of November through March. (Doc. No. 14 ¶ 6.) When no payment was received on April 20, 2009, the Alamo Account became delinquent. (Id. ¶ 7). The Alamo Account was current and in good standing, and not in default or delinquent when Defendant obtained it on November 11, 2008. (Id. ¶ 8.)

IV. Legal Standard

Granting summary judgment is an extraordinary remedy. Summary judgment is only appropriate "if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c); Bouriez v. Carnegie Mellon Univ., 585 F.3d 765, 770 (3d Cir. 2009). "An issue is genuine only if there is a sufficient evidentiary basis on which a reasonable jury could find for the non-moving party, and a factual dispute is material only if it might affect the outcome of the suit under governing law." Kaucher v. County of Bucks, 455 F.3d 418, 423 (3d Cir. 2006) (citing Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986)). The Court's task is not to resolve disputed issues of fact, but to determine whether there exist any factual issues to be tried. Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. at 247-49.

In ruling on a motion for summary judgment, the Court must view the evidence, and make all reasonable inferences from the evidence, in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Chambers v. School Dist. of Philadelphia Bd. of Educ., 587 F.3d 176, 181 (3d Cir. 2009); Bouriez, 585 F.3d at 770. Whenever a factual issue arises which cannot be resolved without a credibility determination, at this stage the Court must credit the nonmoving party's evidence over that presented by the moving party. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255.

In this case, the parties have stipulated that there are no issues of material fact that would preclude the Court from deciding Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment as a matter of law. (Doc. No. 31 ΒΆ 2.) Therefore, this Opinion does not address whether there are any genuine issues of material fact and addresses only whether the moving party, Defendant, is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Generally, once the moving party makes an initial showing that there is no genuine issue of material fact--which is a moot issue here given the Stipulation--then the non-movant must "make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of [every] element essential to that party's case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial." Celotex Corp. v. ...


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