Ghebari v. Jefferson Capital Systems, LLC
MEMORANDUM Order: For the reasons stated in this memorandum order, an initial status hearing at 9:15 a.m. February 10, 2017 to give Ghebari's counsel an opportunity to articulate just why the Jefferson Capital communication should be viewed as actionable under the Act. Signed by the Honorable Milton I. Shadur on 2/3/2017:Mailed notice(clw, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS
JEFFERSON CAPITAL SYSTEMS, LLC,
Case No. 17 C 728
Nasim Ghebari ("Ghebari") has brought this action under the Fair Debt Collection
Practices Act (the "Act") to charge Jefferson Capital Systems, LLC (" Jefferson Capital") with
having violated that statute by having sent Ghebari a communication that his counsel has
attached as Ex. A to the Complaint. This memorandum order is issued sua sponte because of
what appears to be a problematic aspect of Ghebari's lawsuit.
As is appropriate at this threshold stage of the litigation, this Court credits Ghebari's
Complaint allegations. What he has said in Complaint ¶ 13 is that the Ex. A communication
referred to an asserted indebtedness that a Jefferson Capital representative, in a telephone
conversation initiated by Ghebari upon receiving Ex. A, told him had "originated from a
consumer credit card he [Ghebari] incurred over 17 years ago." Ghebari then goes on to allege
in Complaint ¶ 14:
Due to the extreme age of the subject consumer debt, Plaintiff does not recall ever
incurring this obligation.
And then Ghebari proceeds to assert in Complaint ¶ 16:
Confused over the validity of the subject consumer debt, as well as Defendant's
ability to collect on the same, Plaintiff spoke with Sulaiman [the law firm that has
since filed this action on Ghebari's behalf] regarding his rights.
What has given this Court pause is the nature of Jefferson Capital's communication (the
only one it sent to Ghebari), which reads in relevant part:
We would like to offer you options to resolve your account.
This information is not legal. The law limits how long you can be sued on a debt.
Because of the age of your debt, we (Jefferson Capital Systems) cannot sue you
for it and we will not report it to any credit reporting agency. In many
circumstances, you can renew the debt and start the time period for the filing of a
lawsuit against you if you take specific actions such as making certain payment
on the debt or making a written promise to pay. You should determine the effect
of any actions you take with respect to this debt.
It appears to this Court that even the least sophisticated consumer, upon receiving that
communication, should have gotten its clear messages (1) that the claimed indebtedness was so
old that it could not be a basis for a lawsuit against the consumer (here Ghebari) and, moreover,
(2) that Jefferson Capital's disclaimer of sending any report to a credit reporting agency would
mean that the consumer's credit rating would not be affected by Jefferson Capital's having gotten
in touch with him. To be sure, although Ex. A goes on to offer some opportunities to pay the
claimed indebtedness if the consumer wishes to do so, again it would seem that the
presumptively unsophisticated consumer would understand that he had no obligation to do
anything other than pitch the communication into a wastebasket if he wanted to do so.
That said, this Court will not dismiss this lawsuit out of hand. Instead it sets an initial
status hearing at 9:15 a.m. February 10, 2017 to give Ghebari's counsel an opportunity to
articulate just why the Jefferson Capital communication should be viewed as actionable under
Date: February 3, 2017
Milton I. Shadur
Senior United States District Judge
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