Alonso v. Blackstone Financial Group, LLC et al
ORDER requiring parties to be prepared to address issue of emotional distress damages at July 24, 2013 hearing. Order signed by Magistrate Judge Stanley A Boone on 7/23/2013. (Hernandez, M)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
Case No. 1:11-cv-01693-SAB
ORDER REQUIRING PARTIES TO BE
PREPARED TO ADDRESS ISSUE OF
EMOTIONAL DISTRESS DAMAGES AT JULY
24, 2013 HEARING
BLACKSTONE FINANCIAL GROUP.
LLC, et al.,
Plaintiff Rosario Alonso filed this action on October 10, 2011. (ECF No. 1.) The action
is currently proceeding on the first amended complaint, filed February 26, 2013, against
Defendants Blackstone Financial Group, LLC (“Blackstone”) and Jason Elsen alleging violations
of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”), 15 U.S.C. § 1692 et seq. and the Rosenthal
Fair Debt Collection Act (“RFDCPA”), Cal. Civ. Code §§ 178801788.32. (ECF No. 31.)
Defendants Blackstone and Elsen filed separate motions for summary judgment on May
20, 2013. (ECF Nos. 43, 44.) Plaintiff filed oppositions to the motions on July 10, 2013. (ECF
Nos. 49, 51, 52.) On July 18, 2013, Defendants Blackstone and Elsen filed objections and replies
to Plaintiff’s oppositions to their separate motions for summary judgment. (ECF Nos. 54-59.)
On July 19, 2013, the parties filed joint statements of undisputed facts. (ECF Nos. 60, 61.) A
hearing on Defendants’ motions is set before the Honorable Stanley A. Boone on July 24, 2013,
at 9:30 a.m. in Department 9.
The parties dispute whether Plaintiff has actual damages in this action. In addition to
statutory damages under the FDCPA and RFDCPA, a plaintiff may recover actual damages,
including damages for emotional distress, sustained as a result of conduct in violation of the
statutes. 15 U.S.C. § 1692k(a)(1); Cal. Civ. Code § 1788.17; see Guthrie v. JD Enterprise
&Financial Servs., No. 11-cv-911-L(DHB), 2013 WL 2244337, at *3 (S.D. Cal. May 21, 2013).
There is a split among district courts in this circuit on whether a plaintiff’s claim for emotional
distress damages under the FDCPA should be evaluated using the state law governing the tort of
intentional infliction of emotional distress or whether a lower standard should be used. Branco v.
Credit Collection Serv. Inc., No. 2:10-cv-01242-FCD-EFB, 2011 WL 3684503, at *10 (E.D. Cal.
Aug. 23, 2011).
Some courts in this circuit have held that a plaintiff must prove a claim for intentional
infliction of emotional distress (“IIED”) under state law in order to collect damages for emotional
distress when alleging a claim under the FDCPA. See Costa v. National Action Financial Serv.,
634 F.Supp.2d 1069, 1078 (E.D. Cal. 2007). Other courts have found that emotional distress
damages under the FDCPA can be proven without first having to prove a cause of action under
state law. See Riley v. Giguiere, 631 F.Supp.2d 1295 (E.D. Cal. 2009); see also Smith v. Law
Offices of Mitchell N. Kay, 124 B.R. 182, 189 (D. Del. 1991) (“Given Congress' intent to
establish uniform guidelines for enforcing permissible debt collection practices, it would be
counter intuitive to read the FDCPA so that plaintiffs have different rights of recovery in each
In their moving papers, neither party addressed the split that exists in the Ninth Circuit
and whether Plaintiff should be required to state a claim for intentional infliction of emotional
distress under California law to recover emotional distress damages in this action.
Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the parties shall be prepared to address the
standard to be applied to Plaintiff’s emotional distress damages at the July 24, 2013 hearing.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
July 23, 2013
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?