United States District Court, D. Arizona
Ariana Caparelli (“Caparelli”) alleges Defendants
U.S. Collections West (“USCW”) and Alan H.
Zimmerman PC (“Zimmerman, ” and collectively with
USCW, “Defendants”) violated the Fair Debt
Collections Practices Act (“FDCPA”). Plaintiff
alleges that Defendants, as debt collectors, failed to
effectively communicate the identity of her creditor and used
false, deceptive, or misleading representations in connection
with a debt. For the reasons set forth, Defendants'
motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim is denied.
support of her FDCPA claims, Caparelli's Amended
Complaint alleges the following:
leased an apartment from Casa Santa Fe Apartments in Arizona.
(Doc. 16 at 5.) Some time before January 2018, Caparelli
apparently failed to make timely payments to Casa Santa Fe
Apartments. (Doc. 16-3 at 2.)
received a letter from USCW, a collection agency, dated
January 12, 2018. (Doc. 16 at 6.) The letter stated it was
regarding Casa Santa Fe Apartments and that it was from a
debt collector. (Doc. 16-2 at 2.) The letter further stated:
“You have not responded to previous correspondence
regarding the account shown above. You must make amicable
arrangements for payment in full, or we will proceed against
you under the guidelines of the Fair Debt Collections
Practices Act.” (Doc. 16-2 at 2.) According to the
letter, Caparelli owed $2715.46. (Doc. 16-2 at 2.) The letter
advised: “This communication is from a debt collector.
This is an attempt to collect a debt. Any information
obtained will be used for that purpose.” (Doc. 16-2 at
2.) Upon receipt of the letter, Caparelli claims she disputed
the debt, without identifying how it was accomplished. (Doc.
16 at 6.)
February 2018, Caparelli received another letter from USCW.
(Doc. 16-3 at 2.) This letter also referenced Casa Santa Fe
Apartments and contained a handwritten note under the
category “response from the above mentioned
creditor.” (Doc. 16-3 at 2.) Creditor Casa Santa Fe
Apartments stated: “Resident did not [fulfill] lease
agreement and was informed of charges for leaving
early.” (Doc. 16-3 at 2.) The letter also informed
Caparelli to respond by faxing or mailing USCW within 15
days. (Doc. 16-3 at 2.)
received a third letter, this time from Zimmerman, dated
March 27, 2018. (Doc. 16-1 at 2.) Caparelli alleges this
letter “was Zimmerman's initial communication with
[her] with respect to the Debt.” (Doc. 16 at 5.) The
subject line was: “Re: $3, 829.63 Balance owed to U.S.
Collections West, Inc. for debt incurred with Casa Santa Fe
Apartments.” (Doc. 16-1 at 2.) This letter also stated
it was from a debt collector. (Doc. 16-1 at 2.) It advised:
“In the event that you choose to ignore this request,
this office has been authorized to take any and all actions
necessary to collect the full amount due.” (Doc. 16-1
at 2.) In addition, it informed Caparelli to contact USCW to
discuss paying the account or to dispute the validity of the
debt. (Doc. 16-1 at 2.)
the March 2018 letter, Caparelli received additional
correspondence from USCW. In April 2018, a letter from USCW
stated: “Previously you advised our office of your
dispute and or a request for validation of our clients [sic]
claim against you. We previously provided you with the
documentation provided by our client to validate their
claims.” (Doc. 16-4 at 2.) USCW also sent Caparelli a
proposed promissory note dated April 27, 2018. The promissory
note stated: “Client: Casa Santa Fe Apts.” (Doc.
16-5 at 2.) It indicated that Caparelli owed $3829.63 but
proposed a settlement amount of $2700.00. (Doc. 16-5 at 2.)
19, 2018, Caparelli filed a complaint against Zimmerman and
USCW. (Doc. 1.) Caparelli alleges the letter dated March 27,
2018 (“the Letter”), sent by Zimmerman on behalf
of USCW, violated §§ 1692g(a)(2) and 1692e of the
FDCPA because it failed to “meaningfully convey to
[Caparelli] the name of the creditor to whom the alleged debt
is owed” and falsely represented the identity of the
creditor. (Doc. 16 at 11-16.) According to Caparelli, the
current creditor was Casa Santa Fe Apartments. The Letter,
however, implied that USCW was the current creditor. (Doc. 16
at 6.) Zimmerman filed a motion to dismiss Caparelli's
amended complaint, (Doc. 18), which USCW joined. (Doc. 20.)
survive a motion to dismiss, the plaintiff's complaint
must “contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as
true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on
its face.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). Rule 8 of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure requires a “short and
plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is
entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). “[T]he
pleading standard Rule 8 announces does not require
‘detailed factual allegations,' but it demands more
than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me
accusation.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555).
prevail on a FDCPA claim, a plaintiff must sufficiently
allege that (1) he was the object of collection activity
arising from a consumer debt as defined by the FDCPA; (2) the
defendant is a debt collector as defined by the FDCPA; and
(3) the defendant engaged in an act or omission prohibited by
the FDCPA.” Hamilton v. Tiffany & Bosco
PA, No. CV-14-00708-PHX-GMS, 2015 WL 11120694, at
(D. Ariz. Feb. 10, 2015), aff'd, 713 Fed.Appx.
674 (9th Cir. 2018). Here, only the third factor is under
FDCPA was enacted to “prohibit debt collectors from
engaging in various abusive and unfair practices, ”
including abusive debt collection practices. McCollough
v. Johnson, Rodenburg & Lauinger, LLC, 637 F.3d 939,
947-48 (9th Cir. 2011). Specifically, § 1692g(a)(2)
provides: “[A] debt collector shall, unless the
following information is contained in the initial
communication or the consumer has paid the debt, send the
consumer a written notice containing . . . the name of the
creditor to whom the debt is owed.” 15 U.S.C. §
1692g(a)(2). § 1692e ...