United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
MARIUSZ G. JARZYNA, Plaintiff,
HOME PROPERTIES, L.P., Defendants.
EDUARDO C. ROBRENO, J.
case arises out of a landlord-tenant relationship that
deteriorated more than seven years ago. The former tenant,
Plaintiff Mariusz Jarzyna (“Plaintiff”), brought
this action on behalf of himself and other similarly situated
former tenants against a residential management company,
Defendant Home Properties L.P. (“Home”), and a
debt collection agency, Defendant Fair Collections and
Outsourcing, Inc. (“FCO”), alleging violations of
the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”),
15 U.S.C. § 1692, as well as certain other state
consumer protection laws. Before the Court now is
Plaintiff's motion to certify the class. For the reasons
that follow, the Court will deny this motion.
FACTUAL BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Court has stated in the past, “[t]his case, despite the
relative simplicity of its claims, has proceeded along an
unusually circuitous and contentious path.” Jarzyna
v. Home Props., L.P., 114 F.Supp.3d 243, 248 (E.D. Pa.
2015). The factual and procedural history has been set forth
at length in other decisions issued in this case and need not
be repeated here. See Jarzyna v. Home Props., L.P.,
No. 10-4191, 2016 WL 2623688, at *1-7 (E.D. Pa. May 6, 2016)
(describing recent procedural history); Jarzyna, 114
F.Supp.3d at 248-52 (setting forth the factual background and
earlier procedural history). The Court therefore describes
only the most recent procedural history below.
2015, the Court ruled on the parties' motions for summary
judgment and subsequent motions for reconsideration.
Accordingly, the only liability issues that now remain for
trial are (1) Plaintiff's claim, under the FDCPA, that
certain of FCO's standard dunning letters lacked the
requisite disclosures, in violation of 15 U.S.C. §
1692g(a), and (2) a counterclaim for breach of the lease
agreement brought by Home against Plaintiff.
nearly seven full years after Plaintiff filed his initial
complaint, this case has reached the class certification
stage. Plaintiff filed a supplemental motion for class
certification on April 22, 2016, ECF No. 287, which FCO
opposed on May 31, 2016, ECF No. 292. Plaintiff moves to
certify the following class:
All persons residing in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey,
Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Florida, Illinois and
Washington, D.C.[, ] who, during the period January 1, 2008
through the date of the filing of Plaintiff's Third
Amended Class Action Complaint on April 8, 2013 (Doc. No.
205) (the “Class Period”):
a) have been identified and/or readily identifiable by Home
Properties, L.P. (“Home”) to have been assessed
Thirty Day Notice Fees by Home - and with the balance placed
with FCO for collection, in violation of 15 U.S.C.
§§ 1692f(1), 1692e(2), and 1692e(10); and
b) who have been subject of FCO's standard, common, and
uniform policy not to identify themselves as a debt collector
when leaving messages on cellular/personal phones in
violation of 15 U.S.C. §§ 1692e(11) and 1692d(6).
Pl.'s Mot. Class Cert. at 1-2, ECF No. 287. Plaintiff
explains that this class definition was shaped upon the
Court's grant of Defendant FCO failed to disclose that
its calls were from a debt collector, and its collectors
failed to identify the name of the caller when he or she left
voicemail messages for Plaintiff in violation of 15 U.S.C.
§§ 1692e(11) and 1692d(6). See Pl.'s Mem. Law
at 8, ECF No. 287-1. And, second, Defendant Home improperly
charged Plaintiff an additional thirty days' rent despite
the fact that he failed to give timely notice of his intent
to vacate his rental apartment, for which this Court held
Defendant FCO liable under 15 U.S.C. §§ 1692e(2)
and (10) and 1692f(1) for attempting to collect an amount not
authorized by the agreement creating the debt. See
Id. at 7.
Court held a hearing on Plaintiff's class certification
motion on October 17, 2016. ECF No. 395. Subsequently, the
Court granted Plaintiff leave to take limited discovery by
way of deposing four specific individuals. See ECF No. 335.
The Court further ordered the parties to submit supplemental
briefing regarding Plaintiff's motion for class
certification. See Id. The parties subsequently
submitted this briefing, ECF Nos. 355, 364, and the motion
for class certification is now ripe for disposition.
MOTION FOR CLASS CERTIFICATION
seeking class certification must satisfy Rule 23(a) of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the requirements of one
of the subsections of Rule 23(b). See Wal-Mart Stores,
Inc. v. Dukes, 564 U.S. 338, 345-46 (2011); In re
Prudential Ins. Co. Am. Sales Practice Litig. Agent Actions,
148 F.3d 283, 309 (3d Cir. 1998). Under Rule 23(a),
Plaintiffs must demonstrate that: (1) the class is so
numerous that joinder of all members is impracticable; (2)
there are questions of law or fact common to the class; (3)
the claims or defenses of the representative parties are
typical of the claims or defenses of the class; and (4) the
representative parties will fairly and adequately protect the
interests of the class. Fed.R.Civ.P. 23(a).
23 does not set forth a mere pleading standard, ” but
instead, “[a] party seeking class certification must
affirmatively demonstrate [her] compliance with the
Rule--that is, [she] must be prepared to prove that there are
in fact sufficiently numerous parties, common questions of
law or fact, etc.” Dukes, 564 U.S. at 350. The Supreme
Court has repeatedly “recognized . . . that
‘sometimes it may be necessary for the court to probe
behind the pleadings before coming to rest on the
certification question, ' and that certification is
proper only if ‘the trial court is satisfied, after a
rigorous analysis, that the prerequisites of Rule 23(a) have
been satisfied.'”Id. at 350-51 (quoting
Gen. Tel. Co. of Sw. v. Falcon,457 U.S. 147, 160-61