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Scheffler v. Gurstel Chargo, P.A.

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

April 19, 2017

Troy K. Scheffler, Plaintiff,
v.
Gurstel Chargo, P.A. Defendant.

          Peter J. Nickitas, Esq., counsel for plaintiff.

          Manuel H. Newburger, Esq. and Barron & Newburger, PC, and Amy M. Goltz, Esq. and Gurstel Chargo, P.A., counsel for defendant.

          ORDER

          David S. Doty, Judge

         This matter is before the court upon the motion for summary judgment by defendant Gurstel Chargo P.A. Based on a review of the file, record, and proceedings herein, and for the following reasons, the court grants the motion.

         BACKGROUND

         This debt-collection dispute arises out of plaintiff Troy Scheffler's acknowledged credit card debt in the amount of $9, 896.90 owed to Discover Bank. Second Am. Compl. ¶¶ 5-7; Scheffler Decl. Ex. B. Scheffler is a former debt collector who has filed many lawsuits in this district alleging violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practice Act (FDCPA). Gurstel is a law firm engaged in debt collection.

         On July 31, 2009, Gurstel secured a judgment against Scheffler on Discover's behalf. Second Am. Compl. ¶ 6; Answer ¶ 6.[1] In July 2014, Gurstel sent a garnishment summons to Financial One Credit Union. Second Am. Compl. ¶ 9; Answer ¶ 9. Gurstel sent a copy of the garnishment summons to Scheffler. Second Am. Compl. ¶ 9; Answer ¶ 9. In early August 2014, Scheffler mailed Gurstel a cease letter, and Gurstel acknowledged receipt of the letter. Second Am. Compl. ¶ 17; Answer ¶ 17.

         In early August 2015, Gurstel sent Financial One Credit Union a garnishment notice. Second Am. Compl. ¶ 19. On August 11, Gurstel sent copies of the garnishment notice to Scheffler with a cover letter stating the following:

These documents were served upon Financial One Credit Union on or about August 6, 2015. If you have any questions, please contact one of our collections representatives at 800-514-0791.

         Scheffler Decl. Ex. D, at 2 (emphasis in original). The letter concludes with the following admonition:

This communication is from a debt collector and is an attempt to collect a debt. Any information obtained will be used for that purpose.

Id. On September 21, 2015, Scheffler called the number on the letter and spoke to John Thomas, a Gurstel employee. Scheffler Decl. Ex. G; Goltz Decl. Ex. 13. Scheffler claims that he called only to ask questions about the garnishment notice but that Thomas “insisted on attempting to collect the debt.” Second Am. Compl. ¶ 28. The call, which the court has listened to several times, tells a different story. See Scheffler Decl. Ex. E; Goltz Decl. Ex. 13. In the call, Scheffler did not ask any questions about the garnishment notice beyond asking why Gurstel sent it to him:

Salter:[2] Are you calling in regards to the, the garnishment disclosure you received?
Scheffler: Well yeah I mean I got that. I mean you guys have on here call if I have any questions. So, I ...

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