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Fallon v. Quality Asset Recovery, LLC.

United States District Court, Third Circuit

July 19, 2013

ROSEMARY FALLON, Plaintiff,
v.
QUALITY ASSET RECOVERY, LLC et al, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Hon. Petrese B.Tucker, C. J.

Presently before the Court is Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 22), Plaintiff’s Response in Opposition (Docs. 23 & 24), and Defendant’s Reply (Doc. 25). Upon consideration of the parties’ motions with briefs and exhibits, and for the reasons set forth below, Defendant’s motion will be granted in part and denied in part.

I. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Rosemary Fallon (“Fallon”) brings this suit against Defendant Quality Asset Recovery, LLC (“QAR” or “Defendant”) for alleged violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”), 15 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq. and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”), 15 U.S.C. § 1692 et seq. The parties have conducted little, if no, discovery in this matter. As such, many facts remain in dispute.

The basic facts are that Fallon disputes an alleged consumer debt that was placed on her credit report. The debt in question is from Main Line Diagnostic in Downington, PA for an allegedly unpaid medical bill. QAR asserts the debt totaled $300.89. Fallon denies this was the amount of the allegedly unpaid balance. The parties agree that the alleged debt was placed in collection with QAR on May 1, 2006. QAR states that Larry Stellar (“Stellar”) was the QAR employee responsible for managing Fallon’s account.

On August 31, 2010, Stellar received a letter from Fallon disputing the $300.89 account balance. On December 5, 2010, Stellar received a follow-up letter from Fallon again disputing the account balance. Finally, on December 30, 2010, Stellar received another letter from Fallon disputing the account balance. QAR argues that, as a result of Fallon’s inquiries, Stellar confirmed directly with Main Line Diagnostic that the $300.89 was for the insurance copayment remaining for the account. QAR further argues that, even though it determined the collection amount to be valid, on October 13, 2010 it nonetheless marked the account as disputed in its internal record keeping system. Stellar further avers that, also in October 2010, he notified TransUnion that the account was disputed.

During the pendency of its collection activities, QAR received phone calls from Fallon. Specifically, Stellar had conversations with Fallon on December 29, 2010 and January 3, 2011. The parties agree that Stellar informed Fallon during their discussions that Stellar had investigated the account and confirmed directly with the underlying creditor that the remaining balance was for an insurance copayment. Fallon alleges that QAR never provided her with any documentation justifying the alleged balanced. Fallon further alleges that QAR never explained to her how the healthcare provider calculated the allegedly owed balance.

QAR contends that, on January 5, 2011, it learned that Fallon had filed bankruptcy. As result, QAR claims that it closed Fallon’s account. Nevertheless, the instant lawsuit was filed on January 24, 2011.

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

Summary judgment is appropriate where the moving party establishes that “there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that [it] is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law.” Fed R. Civ P. 56(a); see also Levy v. Sterling Holding Co., LLC, 544 F.3d 493, 501 (3d Cir. 2008). A factual dispute between the parties will not defeat a motion for summary judgment unless it is both genuine and material. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247-48 (1986); Dee v. Borough of Dunmore, 549 F.3d 225, 229 (3d Cir. 2008). A factual dispute is genuine if a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the non-movant, and it is material if, under the substantive law, it would affect the outcome of the suit. See Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248; Fakete v. Aetna, Inc., 308 F.3d 335, 337 (3d Cir. 2002).

The moving party must show that if the evidentiary material of record were reduced to admissible evidence in court, it would be insufficient to permit the non-moving party to carry its burden of proof. See Celotex v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 327 (1986). Once the moving party has carried its burden under Rule 56, “its’ opponent must do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts.” Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 380 (2007). Under Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e), the opposing party must set forth specific facts showing a genuine issue for trial and may not rest upon the mere allegations or denials of its pleadings. See Marten v. Godwin, 499 F.3d 290, 295 (3d Cir. 2007).

At the summary judgment stage the court’s function is not to weigh the evidence and determine the truth of the matter, but rather to determine whether there is a genuine issue for trial. See Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249; Jiminez v. All American Rathskeller, Inc., 503 F.3d 247, 253 (3d Cir. 2007). In doing so, the court must construe the facts and inferences in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. See Horsehead Indus., Inc. v. Paramount Communications, Inc., 258 F.3d 132 (3d Cir. 2001). The court must award summary judgment on all claims unless the non-moving party shows through affidavits or admissible evidence that an issue of material fact remains. See, e.g., Love v. Rancocas Hosp., 270 F.Supp.2d 576, 579 (D.N.J. 2003); Koch Materials Co. v. Shore Slurry Seal, Inc., 205 F.Supp.2d 324, 330 (D.N.J. 2002).

III. DISCUSSION

A. FCRA Claim ...


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