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Christopher v. RJM Acquisitions LLC

United States District Court, D. Arizona

June 30, 2015

Jennifer Christopher, Plaintiff,
v.
RJM Acquisitions LLC, Defendant.

ORDER

JAMES A. TEILBORG, Senior District Judge.

Pending before the Court is Jennifer Christopher's ("Plaintiff") Motion for Attorney's Fees. (Doc. 49). The Court now rules on the Motion.

I. BACKGROUND

For context, the Court summarizes the facts as they were presented in its order granting in part and denying in part the parties' Motions for Summary Judgment. (Doc. 45). On November 28, 2011, RJM Acquisitions LLC ("Defendant") purchased a Mystery Book Club account opened by an individual named Jennifer Christopher that had an unpaid balance of $97.36. ( Id. ¶ 1). Defendant sent three letters, two of which were received by Plaintiff, who is also named Jennifer Christopher. ( Id. ¶¶ 2, 3). Plaintiff never opened the account and does not owe the debt Defendant attempted to collect from her. ( Id. ¶ 1). Plaintiff received letters at two different addresses, both of which were obtained by Defendant from a third party that specializes in locating addresses of individuals who have moved. ( Id. at 2). After Plaintiff received one letter at her old address and another one at her new address, she called Defendant to explain the debt was not hers. ( Id. at 3). Plaintiff brought a cause of action under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act ("FDCPA"), 15 U.S.C. § 1692 et seq.

After Plaintiff filed her Complaint, each party filed a Motion for Summary Judgment. (Doc. 31, Doc. 40). Both Motions were granted in part and denied in part. (Doc. 45 at 15). The Court ruled in favor of Defendant on Count One of Plaintiff's Complaint and in favor of Plaintiff on Count Two of Plaintiff's Complaint. ( Id. ). Plaintiff was awarded $1, 000 in damages. ( Id. ).

Plaintiff now brings this cause of action requesting that Defendant be held liable for Plaintiff's attorney's fees.

II. DISCUSSION

In order to ensure private enforcement of the FDCPA, an award of reasonable attorney's fees is mandatory when a Plaintiff prevails on his or her claim. Camacho v. Bridgeport Fin., Inc., 523 F.3d 973, 978 (9th Cir. 2008) (citing Tolentino v. Friedman, 46 F.3d 645, 651 (7th Cir. 1995)). In the Motion pending before the Court, Plaintiff requests attorney's fees in the amount of $15, 741.00. Defendant first claims that Plaintiff should not recover attorney's fees because Plaintiff prevailed on a theory she did not advance. Alternatively, Defendant argues that the total amount of attorney's fees should be no more than $10, 490.50 because Plaintiff's attorneys overstaffed this case and some of the requested attorney's fees are excessive.

A. PREVAILING PARTY

15 U.S.C. § 1692k(a) provides,

Except as otherwise provided by this section, any debt collector who fails to comply with any provision of this subchapter with respect to any person is liable to such person in an amount equal to the sum of-
(1) any actual damage sustained by such person as a result of such failure;
(2)(A) in the case of any action by an individual, such additional damages as the court may allow, but not exceeding $1, 000;... and
(3) in the case of any successful action to enforce the foregoing liability, the costs of the action, together with a reasonable ...

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