United States District Court, D. Arizona
October 26, 2015.
Robert Garduno, Theresa Ruiz, Plaintiffs: Floyd W Bybee, LEAD
ATTORNEY, Bybee Law Center PLC, Chandler, AZ.
Autovest LLC, Defendant: Robert Travis Campbell, LEAD
ATTORNEY, Simmonds & Narita LLP, San Francisco, CA.
Fulton, Friedman & Gullace LLP, Defendant: Cynthia Lee
Fulton, LEAD ATTORNEY, Fulton Friedman & Gullace PLLC,
Roslyn O. Silver, Senior United States District Judge.
were sued by Defendants in state court for not paying off a
car loan. According to Plaintiffs, Defendants waited too long
to file that suit. Plaintiffs now allege the filing of the
state court suit violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices
Act (" FDCPA" ). Defendants seek judgment on the
pleadings, arguing this suit is barred by the
Rooker-Feldman doctrine or because the FDCPA claim
was a compulsory
counterclaim that should have been raised in state court.
Defendants are incorrect and Plaintiffs' claim may
2007, Plaintiffs Robert Garduno and Theresa Ruiz purchased a
car. To finance that purchase, Plaintiffs took out a loan
from the car dealer, secured by the car. (Doc. 1 at 3). The
car dealer later assigned the debt to Wells Fargo Bank. After
Plaintiffs fell behind on their payments, Wells Fargo
repossessed and sold the vehicle in April 2009. The sales
proceeds were not enough to satisfy the outstanding balance.
Wells Fargo then sold the debt to Defendant Autovest LLC.
Autovest hired the law firm of Fulton, Friedman & Gullace,
LLP (" FFG" ), to assist " in collecting the
claimed deficiency balance from Plaintiffs." (Doc. 1 at
17, 2014--well over five years after the car was
repossessed--FFG filed a lawsuit in Maricopa County Superior
Court. That lawsuit, brought on behalf of Autovest, was an
attempt to collect on the deficiency balance. (Doc. 15-1 at
5). Plaintiffs allege the lawsuit was barred by the statute
of limitations at the time it was filed and Defendants
Autovest and FFG knew as much. Despite the suit being
untimely, Plaintiffs did not raise that issue in state court
and eventually stipulated to entry of judgment in the amount
of $24,971.32. (Doc. 1 at 4). The state court entered
judgment in January 2015. (Doc. 15-1 at 23).
3, 2015, Plaintiffs filed the present suit alleging a single
claim under the FDCPA. As described by Plaintiffs, their
claim is that Autovest and FFG (collectively, "
Defendants" ) violated the FDCPA " by filing suit
on a time-barred debt." (Doc. 23 at 2). Defendants
answered the complaint but shortly thereafter filed a motion
for judgment on the pleadings. Defendants' motion argues
this suit constitutes an inappropriate challenge to the state
court judgment or ...