Currier v. PDL Recovery Group, LLC et al
OPINION AND ORDER Denying 171 Motion for Reconsideration. Signed by District Judge Sean F. Cox. (JMcC)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
Case No. 14-12179
Hon. Sean F. Cox
PDL Recovery Group, LLC, et. al.,
OPINION & ORDER
DENYING DEFENDANTS’ MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION
Plaintiff Ryan Currier (“Plaintiff”) brought this action pursuant to the Telephone
Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”), the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”), the
Michigan Occupational Code (“MOC”), and the Michigan Collection Practices Act (“MCPA”).
On February 23, 2017, this Court entered an Opinion and Order granting in part and denying in
part Plaintiff’s partial motion for summary judgment. (Doc. # 170, O&O).
The matter is currently before Defendants PDL Recovery Group and Jamie Belstadt’s
Motion for Reconsideration, brought pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(b). (Doc. #
171, Def.s’ Br.). Defendants take issue with the Court’s decision to hold Defendant Belstadt
personally liable under the FDCPA and MOC and the Court’s decision to consider one of the
exhibits attached to Plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment. Plaintiff has responded to
Defendants’ motion. (Doc. # 175). Having reviewed the substance of Defendants’ motion, this
Court shall DENY the Motion for Reconsideration.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(b) states:
[A]ny order or other form of decision, however designated, which adjudicates
fewer than all of the claims ... shall not terminate the action ... and the order or
other form of decision is subject to revision at any time before the entry of
judgment adjudicating all the claims and the rights and liabilities of all the parties.
The Sixth Circuit has held that “[t]raditionally, courts will find justification for reconsidering
interlocutory orders when there is (1) an intervening change of controlling law; (2) new evidence
available; or (3) a need to correct a clear error or prevent manifest injustice.” Rodriguez v. Tenn.
Laborers Health & Welfare Fund, 89 Fed. App’x 949, 959 (6th Cir. 2004).
Argument # 1. First, Defendants argue that the Court erred in concluding that Defendant
Belstadt could be held personally liable under the FDCPA on the basis of his general
participation in the debt collection activities of PDL. In reaching this conclusion, the Court
relied on the Sixth Circuit’s decision in Kistner v. Law Offices of Michael P. Margelefsky, 518
F.3d 433 (6th Cir. 2008), for the proposition that a member of an LLC can be held personally
liable under the FDCPA so long as the employee individually qualifies as a debt collector.
Here, Defendants do not dispute that an LLC member may be personally liable if he
qualifies as a debt collector. However, Defendants argue that the “correct interpretation of
Kistner should be that personal liability can only be imposed, without piercing the corporate veil,
when an employee, shareholder, officer, or director violates the Act as a ‘debt collector.’”
(Def.s’ Br. at 3). Defendants then rely on several decisions, from outside of the Sixth Circuit, for
the proposition that “personal involvement is a prerequisite to a finding of individual liability.”
(Id. at 5). Defendants then summarily conclude that because Belstadt did not materially
participate in the alleged violations, he cannot be held liable.
Defendants’ argument, however, has been specifically rejected by the Sixth Circuit in
In other words, contrary to [defendant’s] argument that he cannot be personally
liable because he did not participate in sending the specific letter to [plaintiff], he
may be personally liable on the basis of his participation in the debt collection
activities of the LLC more generally.
Kistner, 518 F.3d at 437 (emphasis added).
Defendants are also wrong when they assert that the “Court’s opinion relies on no
evidence to suggest that Belstadt formulated and implemented a business practice that resulted in
an FDCPA violation.” (Def.s’ Br. at 4). Defendants conveniently ignore the portion of the
Opinion & Order where the Court relies on Belstadt’s own testimony in reaching its conclusion:
Here, the undisputed facts establish that Belstadt “regularly collect[ed] or
attempt[ed] to collect, directly or indirectly, debts owed or due or asserted to be
owed or due another.” First, the Court notes that the collection activities at issue
in this case were PDL’s primary source of income. Notably, as PDL’s highest
ranking official, Belstadt developed and implemented policies and procedures for
a company whose primary profit-generating activity was the collection of debts.
This is a significant distinction between this case and other cases, such as Kistner,
where the defendants were members of companies that did not solely engage in
Moreover, the fact that Belstadt did not personally collect debts is irrelevant
where, as here, the FDCPA explicitly includes in its definition of debt collector
those individuals who indirectly participate in debt collection activities. 15
U.S.C. § 1692a(6). Here, in addition to establishing policies that PDL employees
were required to follow, Belstadt’s day-to-day activities included checking in
with, and answering the questions of, employees (floor managers and
administrators) who were directly involved in PDL’s debt collection efforts.
Belstadt also testified that he and the floor managers answered questions from
debt collectors regarding compliance with the FDCPA. (Ex. 4 to Pl.’s Br. at 35).
If there were any changes or updates in the law, Belstadt would share that
information with PDL employees if he “felt that it was something that should be
shared.” (Id. at 37-38). Belstadt also served as one of two primary points of
contact for PDL’s auto-dialing service, Global Connect.
(O&O at 27-28).
Defendants have therefore failed to establish that reconsideration of this issue is
warranted because there is no “need to correct a clear error or prevent manifest injustice.”
Argument # 2. Next, Defendants argue that the Court erred in considering an exhibit (a
call detail report) attached to Plaintiff’s summary judgment motion because Plaintiff did not
attach the “original full deposition transcript with marked exhibits.” (Def.s’ Br. at 9).
Defendants argue that the call detail report was therefore unauthenticated.
Defendants’ argument is without merit and disregards the reasoning in the Court’s
Opinion & Order. The Court specifically determined that the call detail report was sufficiently
authenticated and discussed during the deposition of Global Connect representative, Darrin R.
Bird. Plaintiff’s failure to attach an exhibit list to the deposition transcript has no bearing on the
authenticity of the exhibit itself. Defendants have not cited a single case, which would support
the proposition that an exhibit–authenticated through the deposition testimony of a person with
personal knowledge–is insufficient for purposes of summary judgment if it is not accompanied
by the full deposition transcript. Defendants also disregard this Court’s Practice Guidelines,
which permit parties to provide only the relevant portions of a transcript, rather than submitting
complete copies. As such, Defendants have failed to establish a “need to correct a clear error or
prevent manifest injustice.”
Argument # 3. In their final argument, Defendants contend that Defendant Belstadt
should not be found individually liable under the MOC for the same reasons that he should not
be liable under the FDCPA. This argument is without merit for the reasons discussed above.
CONCLUSION & ORDER
For the foregoing reasons, IT IS ORDERED that Defendants’ Rule 54(b) Motion for
Reconsideration (Doc. # 171) is DENIED.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
s/Sean F. Cox
Sean F. Cox
United States District Judge
Dated: May 1, 2017
I hereby certify that a copy of the foregoing document was served upon counsel of record on
May 1, 2017, by electronic and/or ordinary mail.
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?