United States District Court, D. New Jersey
FATIMA RIDLEY, individually, and on behalf of all other similarly situated consumers, Plaintiff,
MRS BPO, LLC, Defendant.
ZEMEL ZEMEL LAW LLC On Behalf of Plaintiff Fatima Ridley.
ALEKSANDER P. POWIETRZYNSKI WINSTON & WINSTON PC On
Behalf of Defendant MRS BPO, LLC.
L. HILLMAN, U.S.D.J.
putative class action, Plaintiff Fatima Ridley
(“Plaintiff”) alleges that Defendant MRS BPO, LLC
(“Defendant”) violated the Fair Debt Collection
Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1692 et seq.
(“FDCPA”) when it incorrectly identified the
original creditor on “trade lines” placed on
Plaintiff's credit report. Before the Court is
Plaintiff's motion for class certification (the
“Motion”). (ECF No. 17). Plaintiff's Motion
will be granted.
August 13, 2018, Plaintiff filed a one-count putative class
action complaint against Defendant for allegedly violating
the FDCPA (the “Complaint”). (ECF No. 1). The
facts underlying the Complaint are relatively
unspecified time, Plaintiff incurred a private student loan
debt. (ECF No. 1 (“Compl.”) at ¶6). In
furtherance of its debt collection efforts, Defendant, a debt
collector, placed a trade line on Plaintiff's credit report
in October 2017, incorrectly listing Transworld Systems Inc.
(“Transworld” or “TSI”) as the
purported original creditor. (Compl. at ¶¶14-18).
The parties appear to agree that Transworld is not, in fact,
the original creditor for Plaintiff's debt, and that
Defendant “improperly reported TSI in some cases
instead of the name that . . . should have been
[reported].” (ECF No. 30-1 (“Meyer Dep.”)
at 1T22:1-5); see (ECF No. 27 (“Def.
Br.”) at 1) (“Transworld retained Defendant to
collect a student loan Plaintiff owed to NCSLT [(National
Collegiate Student Loans Trust)]”). In light of
Defendant's error, Plaintiff alleges that she was unsure
whether payment was required and that the proverbial
“least sophisticated debtor” would be equally
confused. (Compl. at ¶19).
argues that Defendant made similar errors affecting other
debtors and asks this Court to certify the following class:
“[a]ll consumers with a Pennsylvania address for whom
Defendant reported an incorrect original creditor to the
credit reporting agencies for personal, household, or family
debts originating within one year prior to the filing of this
complaint.” (Compl. at ¶22).
offered the following discovery response relevant to
determining whether class certification would be appropriate:
INTERROGATORY NO. 3: State the number of persons,
their full names and full addresses of all persons within the
State of Pennsylvania for whom Defendant reported an
incorrect original creditor to the credit reporting agencies
for personal, household, or family debts originating within
the period of time beginning one year prior to the filing of
this initial action and end 21 days after the service of the
ANSWER: Defendant objects. . . . Notwithstanding and
without waiving these objections, Defendant estimates that
there are 73 individuals for whom Defendant furnished
information to a consumer reporting agency suggesting that
Transworld Systems Inc. was the creditor of an account within
the described time period.
(ECF No. 17-5 at ¶3).
before the Court is a portion of Michael Meyer's
(“Meyer”) deposition. The parties elected to
submit only narrow portions of Meyer's deposition
transcript for the Court's review, and the portions
submitted fail to fully clarify Meyer's role in this
action. Plaintiff represents in her briefing that Meyer
testified as Defendant's disputed. Meyer's deposition
includes the following testimony:
Q. Do you know what name it was and what name it should have
A. I believe we improperly reported TSI in some cases instead
of the name that it should have been.
Q. Okay. Over the course of the litigation, I have asked MRS
to explain or to identify the number of people this happened
to. Were you a part of that investigation?
A. Recently, yes.
Q. And do you know how many people were affected by this
A. It's not an interface issue.
Q. What would you call it?
A. I would call it a client code setting.
Q. Okay. Do you know how many people were affected by the
client code setting?
Q. And how many people were affected?
Q. And how did you come to that determination?
A. We looked at the period of time. We looked at the specific
criteria based upon the suit. And based upon those criteria,
we looked at various queries and we had to go back in time
through all of the reporting files that we have received to
undertake and examine which ones they were.
Q. And how do you identify in the course of your
investigation that one of these 94 people belong in this
A. Based on the criteria that we were provided in the suit
based on the class action, we looked at what constituted the
Q. Okay. Do you collect for TSI debts outside of
Q. Did you look to see whether consumers outside of
Pennsylvania have also been affected by the client code
Q. Is it possible today that the client code setting that
affected Miss Ridley is affecting consumers in different
states outside of Pennsylvania?
A. During that time period, yes.
(Meyer Dep. at 1T22:1-5; 1T40:9 to 1T41:25).
Motion is fully briefed. See (ECF No. 17). Defendant
has opposed. (ECF No. 27). As such, the Motion is ripe for
Subject Matter Jurisdiction
Court exercises subject matter jurisdiction over this action
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331 and 15 U.S.C. §
Class Certification: Standard and Analysis
class action is ‘an exception to the usual rule that
litigation is conducted by and on behalf of the individual
named parties only.'” Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v.
Dukes, 564 U.S. 338, 348, 131 S.Ct. 2541, 180 L.Ed.2d
374 (2011) (quoting Califano v. Yamasaki, 442 U.S.
682, 700-01, 99 S.Ct. 2545, 61 L.Ed.2d 176 (1979)). In order
to justify a departure from the general rule that each
litigant proceeds with their own action, “a class
representative must be part of the class and possess the same
interest and suffer the same injury as the class
members.” Id. at 348-49 (quoting East Tex.
Motor Freight System, Inc. v. Rodriguez, 431 U.S. 395,
403, 97 S.Ct. 1891, 52 L.Ed.2d 453 (1977)) (internal
quotation marks omitted).
putative class action must satisfy the four requirements of
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(a): numerosity,
commonality, typicality, and adequacy. City Select Auto
Sales, Inc. v. BMW Bank of N. Am., Inc., 867 F.3d 434,
438 (3d Cir. 2017) (citing Amchem Prods., Inc. v.
Windsor, 521 U.S. 591, 613, 117 S.Ct. 2231, ...