Mesa v. Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance et al
ORDER granting 91 FedLoan's Motion to conduct conferences by email. Signed by Magistrate Judge Edwin G. Torres on 8/10/2017. (js02)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF FLORIDA
Case No. 16-24577-Civ-WILLIAMS/TORRES
EDUCATION ASSISTANCE et al,
ORDER GRANTING FEDLOAN’S MOTION
TO CONDUCT CONFERENCES BY EMAIL
This matter is before the Court on Pennsylvania Higher Education
Assistance Agency d/b/a FedLoan Servicing’s (“FedLoan”) motion for an order
authorizing conferences to be conducted via email (“Motion”) against Rene Mesa1
(“Plaintiff”). [D.E. 91]. Plaintiff responded to FedLoan’s Motion on August 3, 2017
[D.E. 93] to which FedLoan replied on August 7, 2017.
FedLoan’s Motion is now ripe for disposition. After careful consideration of the
Motion, response, reply, relevant authority, and for the reasons discussed below,
FedLoan’s Motion is GRANTED.
Plaintiff is representing himself pro se in the action.
On April 14, 2017, Plaintiff filed his Third Amended Complaint [D.E. 38] for
damages pursuant to unlawful debt collection practices in violation of the Fair Debt
Collection Practices Act, the Florida Consumer Collection practices Act, and the
Fair Credit Reporting Act. [D.E. 38]. Plaintiff alleges that all of the defendants
engaged in deceptive conduct through several misrepresentations that led to
significant financial injury, severe humiliation, and emotional distress.
misrepresentations were allegedly made to Plaintiff in phone calls with FedLoan,
Continental Service Group, Inc., and Conserve-Arm. As such, Plaintiff seeks actual,
compensatory, and punitive damages for defendants’ alleged violations.
The purpose of FedLoan’s Motion is to avoid any potential future
misunderstandings or miscommunications between Plaintiff and defendants that
might occur in phone conferences.
Specifically, FedLoan seeks to conduct nay
conferences with Plaintiff that may be required by the Federal or Local Rules,
including scheduling conferences and good faith conferences to be conducted via
FedLoan believes that allowing counsel for the defendants to conduct
conferences with Plaintiff by email will also minimize the risk that any
communications are construed as legal advice to Plaintiff. Because this action arose
due to alleged misrepresentations with Plaintiff in phone calls, FedLoan suggests
that the parties correspond via email to avoid any future misunderstandings.
Plaintiff’s response is largely directed to opposing a separate motion to stay
discovery that defendants filed in this case. The only substantive response from
Plaintiff – in connection with the motion to conduct conferences via email – is that
Plaintiff believes that he should not be required to accept service of motions by
email. However, Plaintiff appears to misunderstand the relief sought in FedLoan’s
Motion because FedLoan specifically indicated in a footnote that its Motion was
limited to conferences and not sought for the service of motions, pleadings,
discovery, or other papers.
FedLoan argues in reply that Plaintiff’s response is precisely the type of
misunderstanding that FedLoan seeks to avoid and purportedly justifies the relief
sought in its Motion. FedLoan also contends that attorney communications with
pro se litigants are particularly susceptible to misunderstandings, especially oral
communications that require a certain level of expertise. Therefore, in order to
avoid any potential future misunderstandings or miscommunications, FedLoan
suggests that the parties be allowed to conduct any conferences by email or other
FedLoan’s arguments are well taken. The complaint in this case is based
primarily on representations and statements that defendants made in phone calls
with Plaintiff. And FedLoan has adequately shown that the most prudent way to
possibly avoid any future misunderstandings, especially with a pro se litigant, is to
authorize the parties’ to communicate via email or other written means in
conducting any conferences. As such, FedLoan’s Motion is GRANTED.2
For the foregoing reasons, it is hereby ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that
FedLoan’s Motion for an order authorizing conferences to be conducted via email
[D.E. 91] is GRANTED.
DONE AND ORDERED in Chambers at Miami, Florida, this 10th day of
/s/ Edwin G. Torres
EDWIN G. TORRES
United States Magistrate Judge
This Order does not apply to the service of motions, pleadings, discovery, or
other papers – only conferences that are required under the Federal or Local Rules.
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