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Sandra Lorandeau v. Capital Collection Service

September 8, 2011

SANDRA LORANDEAU
v.
CAPITAL COLLECTION SERVICE



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

MEMORANDUM RE: SUMMARY JUDGMENT MOTION

I. Introduction

This action arises out of a notice dated April 15, 2010 sent by Defendant Nosoma Systems, Inc. t/a Capital Collection Service ("Defendant") to Plaintiff Sandra Lorandeau ("Plaintiff") concerning collection of a debt owed to Abington Memorial Hospital. Plaintiff filed this civil action alleging that Defendant's notice violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act ("FDCPA"), 15 U.S.C. § 1692 et seq. and seeks compensatory and statutory damages. Currently before the Court is Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 17).

For the following reasons, Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment will be granted.

II. Factual and Procedural Background

A. Factual History

Plaintiff, a Pennsylvania resident, received medical services at Abington Memorial Hospital on June 12, 2009. Dep. of Sandra J. Lorandeau ("Pl.'s Dep."), June 14, 2011 at 7:13-20, 11:23-12:14 (Defendant's Appendix to Summary Judgment Brief ("D.A.") 7, 11-12). Plaintiff does not recall receiving any bills from Abington Memorial Hospital or statements from her medical insurer for services performed on June 12, 2009. Id. at 12:19-22; 13:24-14:19 (D.A. 12-14). Plaintiff believes she does not owe money to Abington Memorial Hospital for the June 12, 2009 services because she did not receive a bill. Id. at 14:20-15:2 (D.A. 14-15). Plaintiff did not do anything to determine whether she in fact owed money to Abington Memorial Hospital. Id. at 41:21-42:9 (D.A. 41-42). Abington Memorial Hospital's internal records indicate it sent Plaintiff a bill to her home address on August 1, 2009 for $120.00, the patient's balance for the procedure. February 3, 2011 printout (D.A. 95-96); Certificate of Pauline Conway ("Conway Certif.") ¶¶ 3-4 (D.A. 110-11).*fn1

Plaintiff paid $20.00 to Abington Memorial Hospital that was credited on September 30, 2009. Feb. 3, 2011 printout (D.A. 97); Conway Certif. ¶ 5 (D.A. 111). Plaintiff paid $10.00 to Abington Memorial Hospital that was credited on October 29, 2009. Feb. 11, 2003 printout (D.A. 98); Conway Certif. ¶ 6 (D.A. 111). Plaintiff does not recall making the $30 worth of payments. Pl.'s Dep. 47:1-3 (D.A. 47). The balance was transferred as "bad debt" on December 18, 2009, and transferred to Defendant for collection on January 1, 2010. Feb. 3, 2011 printout (D.A. 103); Conway Certif. ¶ 7 (D.A. 111).

Defendant sent a notice to Plaintiff's residence dated January 13, 2010 (the "January 13, 2010 notice") seeking payment of the debt, which included the following information beneath the payment slip:

CAPITAL COLLECTION SERVICE

Re: OP-ABINGTON MEMORIAL HOSPITAL Amount Due: $90.00

Since: 6/12/09 Account #: 0977972240 D.A. 79. The January 13, 2010 notice contained information regarding Plaintiff's right to dispute the validity of the debt within thirty days. Id.*fn2

On January 24, 2010, a check drawn on the account of Gary and Sandra Lorandeau was made out to Defendant Capital Collection Services in the amount of $5.00, on which the memo line is written: "0977972240." D.A. 82. The back of the check was stamped reflecting that Defendant deposited it on January 27, 2010. Id. Plaintiff testified that she signed the check.

Pl.'s Dep. 20:6-8 (D.A. 20). Plaintiff further testified that she did not recall receiving Defendant's January 13, 2010 notice in the mail, but acknowledged "[t]hey must have sent me something in the mail" in response to which she made the $5.00 payment, and it was "possible" she received the notice and mailed the check as a result. Id. at 22:16-24, 24:16-21 (D.A. 22, 24).*fn3

Defendant forwarded the $5.00 payment to Abington Memorial Hospital and her balance was reduced to $85.00 on March 30, 2010. Feb. 3, 2011 printout (D.A. 99); Conway Certif. ¶ 7 (D.A. 111).

Plaintiff testified that she thought she was making a payment to Abington Surgical Center, to which she owed money for a different procedure. Pl.'s Dep. at 18:19-19:13 (D.A. 18-19). Plaintiff received medical services at Abington Surgical Center on July 10, 2009. Id. at 29:9-13 (D.A. 29); Abington Surgical Center, P.C. bill, account number 3113707, dated April 9, 2010 (D.A. 69). Plaintiff thought "Abington Memorial Hospital" was synonymous with "Abington Surgical Center." Affidavit of Sandra Lorandeau, dated July 24, 2011 ("Pl.'s Aff.") ¶ 14 (Ex. A to Pl.'s Resp. to Def.'s Mot. Summary J.).

Plaintiff received a notice from Defendant dated April 15, 2010 (the "April 15, 2010 notice"), which she thought at the time was the first notice she received from Defendant. Pl.'s Dep. 31:8-25 (D.A. 31-32). The April 15, 2010 notice states information including the following beneath the payment slip:

CAPITAL COLLECTION SERVICE

Re: OP-ABINGTON MEMORIAL HOSPITAL Amount Due: $85.00 Since: 6/12/09 Our File Number #: 100130392 D.A. 80. The body of the April 15, 2010 notice states:

FINAL NOTICE

WE MUST HAVE YOUR CALL

(856) 768-4224

This is An Attempt to Collect a Debt.

Any Information Obtained Will Be Used for ...


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