United States District Court, D. New Jersey
GROUP, PLLC By: Yaakov Saks, Esq. HIGH SWARTZ, LLP By: Mark
Fischer, Jr., Esq. Counsel for Defendant.
L. HILLMAN, U.S.D.J.
a Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (“FDCPA”),
15 U.S.C. § 1692 et seq., suit. Plaintiff Ridgeway asserts
that she disputed a debt with Defendant AR Resources, Inc., a
debt collector, but AR Resources failed to identify the debt
as disputed or delete the debt.
Resources moves for summary judgment on the one-count
complaint. For the reasons stated herein, the Motion will be
denied in part and denied without prejudice in part.
October, 2015, Defendant AR Resources received a one-page
letter by fax, with no coversheet. (Fischer, Jr., Cert. Ex.
B) At the top of the page, the letter states that it is
“FROM:” Plaintiff Christine Ridgeway, and bears
Ridgeway's home address in New Jersey. (Id.) No
other sender is identified, although the fax header printed
on the letter bears a fax number with an area code of 414,
and the time stamp is in Mountain Daylight
Time. The letter goes on to identify the debt at
issue by name on the account (Christine Ridgeway), the last
four digits of Ridgeway's social security number,
Ridgeway's date of birth, the creditor, and the balance
of the debt. (Id.) The remainder of the letter
appears to be a boilerplate form stating, among other things,
“I dispute this debt.” (Id.) The letter
bears the electronic “” signature of Christine
testified at her deposition that she did not draft the
letter. (Ridgeway Dep. p. 6) A “credit repair agency,
” Collection Shield 360 (“CS360”), wrote
the letter after Ridgeway called the company. (Id.
at p. 6-7) Ridgeway testified that she specifically asked
CS360 to dispute the AR Resources debt. (Id. at p.
summary judgment record contains a one-page “Collection
Shield Service Agreement” electronically signed by both
CS360 and Ridgeway. (Fischer, Jr., Cert. Ex. B) The agreement
states in relevant part, “I, Christine Ridgeway, hereby
authorize, [CS360], to make, receive, sign, endorse, execute,
acknowledge, deliver, and process such applications,
correspondence, contracts, or agreements to credit reporting
agencies and creditors/collection agencies as necessary to
improve my credit.” (Id.) The agreement is
judgment is appropriate where the Court is satisfied that
“‘the pleadings, depositions, answers to
interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the
affidavits, if any, ' . . . demonstrate the absence of a
genuine issue of material fact” and that the moving
party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law.
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23
(1986)(citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 56).
issue is “genuine” if it is supported by evidence
such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict in the
nonmoving party's favor. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A fact is
“material” if, under the governing substantive
law, a dispute about the fact might affect the outcome of the
suit. Id. “In considering a motion for summary
judgment, a district court may not make credibility
determinations or engage in any weighing of the evidence;
instead, the non-moving party's evidence ‘is to be
believed and all justifiable inferences are to be drawn in
his favor.'” Marino v. Indus. Crating Co.,
358 F.3d 241, 247 (3d Cir. 2004)(citing Anderson,
477 U.S. at 255).
the moving party bears the burden of demonstrating the
absence of a genuine issue of material fact.
Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323 (“[A] party seeking
summary judgment always bears the initial responsibility of
informing the district court of the basis for its motion, and
identifying those portions of ‘the pleadings,
depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on
file, together with the affidavits, if any, ' which it
believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of
material fact.”); see also Singletary v. Pa. Dept.
of Corr., 266 F.3d 186, 192 n.2 (3d Cir. 2001)
(“Although the initial burden is on the summary
judgment movant to show the absence of a genuine issue of
material fact, ‘the burden on the moving party may be
discharged by ‘showing' --that is, pointing out to
the district court -- that there is an absence of evidence to
support the nonmoving party's case' when the
nonmoving party bears the ultimate burden of
proof.”)(citing Celotex, 477 U.S. at 325).
the moving party has met this burden, the nonmoving party
must identify, by affidavits or otherwise, specific facts
showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.
Celotex, 477 U.S. at 324. A “party opposing
summary judgment ‘may not rest upon the mere
allegations or denials of the . . . pleading[s.]'”
Saldana v. Kmart Corp., 260 F.3d 228, 232 (3d Cir.
2001). For “the non-moving party[ ] to prevail, [that
party] must ‘make a showing sufficient to establish the
existence of [every] element essential to that party's
case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof
at trial.'” Cooper v. Sniezek, 418 F.
App'x 56, 58 (3d Cir. 2011)(citing Celotex, 477
U.S. at 322). Thus, to withstand a ...