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Kelly S. Roundtree, On Behalf of Herself and Those Similarly Situated v. Weltman

May 9, 2011

KELLY S. ROUNDTREE, ON BEHALF OF HERSELF AND THOSE SIMILARLY SITUATED, PLAINTIFF,
v.
WELTMAN, WEINBERG & REIS CO., L.P.A., DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Caputo

MEMORANDUM

Presently before the Court is Defendant Weltman, Weinberg & Reis Co., L.P.A.'s ("Weltman") motion for judgment on the pleadings. (Doc. 4.) Weltman claims that the letter it sent to plaintiff Roundtree did not, as a matter of law, violate the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act ("FDCPA"). The Court agrees, and, for the reasons stated below, will grant Weltman's motion.

BACKGROUND

Roundtree received a letter from Weltman dated May 18, 2010 as part of Weltman's efforts to collect on a judgment. The letter was written with the firm's name and address as its letterhead. In the top left corner of the letter, under Roundtree's name and address, was typed: "RE: CAPITAL ONE BANK (USA), NA v. KELLY S ROUNDTREE" followed by a docket and file number. The letter then stated the following:

Dear KELLY S ROUNDTREE

Because you have failed to pay the full amount of the Judgment previously entered against you, the above-referenced Creditor has a right to enforce that Judgment by a Judicial Sale (Sheriff's Sale) of your assets. In addition, that Creditor has a right to inquire concerning the existence and location of those assets.

Therefore, pursuant to the applicable Rules of Court you are REQUIRED to make full and complete Answers to the Interrogatories set forth in the following pages.

A copy of the applicable Pennsylvania Statute is attached for your review. These Answers must be made in writing and returned to the law offices of Weltman, Weinberg & Reis Co., L.P.A., within thirty (30) days of receipt.

You are advised that if you fail to accurately and fully complete and return the Interrogatories within the allotted time, we may file a motion with the Court seeking an Order compelling you to complete the Interrogatories disclosing your assets and a motion requesting the Court impose sanctions against you if you fail to comply with any Court Order.

If you immediately contact us and make acceptable arrangements for payment of the debt, you will not have to complete these Interrogatories.

Please refer to our file number when corresponding, contacting or remitting payments to this office.

Under the signature of a "Lyndsay Rowland," it then states: "This law firm is a debt collector attempting to collect this debt for our client and any information obtained will be used for that purpose." After receiving the letter, Roundtree filed a purported class-action complaint against Weltman for violating the FDCPA. In the complaint, Roundtree alleges that the letter from Weltman contained several false, deceptive, or misleading statements including:

(1) the implication that the next step Weltman would take against Roundtree would be to have a sheriff's sale of Roundtree's property, leaving out intervening procedural hurdles Weltman would first need to clear such as applying for a levy, after which Roundtree would have an opportunity to raise objections under state law; (2) the statement that Weltman's client had a "right" to a sheriff's sale without regard to Roundtree's right to raise objections to said sale; (3) presumptive language that would lead Roundtree to believe Weltman's client had a "vested right" to conduct a sheriff's sale; and (4) presumptive language that a sheriff's sale was likely or imminent.

After answering the complaint, Weltman filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings. The motion has been fully ...


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