United States District Court, D. Minnesota
R. Bauer, FIELDS LAW FIRM, for plaintiff.
Marie Lee and Clifton G. Rodenburg, RODENBURG LAW FIRM, for
defendant Rodenburg Law Firm.
Annie Santos and Heather K. Meyers, HINSHAW & CULBERTSON
LLP, for defendant Portfolio Recovery Associates, LLC.
Patrick J. Schiltz United States District Judge.
Benjamin Ojogwu brings this action against defendants
Rodenburg Law Firm (“Rodenburg”) and Portfolio
Recovery Associates, LLC (“Portfolio”) under the
Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”), 15
U.S.C. § 1692 et seq. Defendants move to dismiss. For
the reasons that follow, defendants' motion is denied.
allegedly owes a debt to CitiBank. Compl. ¶ 11. CitiBank
transferred the alleged debt to Portfolio, which retained
Rodenburg to collect the debt. Compl. ¶¶ 13, 17.
Rodenburg brought a collection action against Ojogwu in
Hennepin County District Court. In March 2017, Rodenburg
notified Ojogwu that it intended to apply for a default
judgment. Compl. ¶ 17 & Ex. 1. In June 2017, Ojogwu
retained attorney Blake Bauer, who sent a letter of
representation to Rodenburg directing that all future
correspondence to Ojogwu be sent through Bauer. Compl.
¶¶ 18-19 & Ex. 2. Rodenburg acknowledged
receiving the letter. Compl. ¶ 20 & Ex. 3.
month later, Rodenburg sent legal correspondence directly to
Ojogwu. Compl. ¶ 21 & Ex. 4. In response, Bauer
drafted and forwarded a proposed complaint alleging that
Rodenburg had violated the FDCPA when it directly contacted
Ojogwu. Compl. ¶¶ 22-23 & Ex. 5. The parties
resolved that dispute. Compl. ¶ 24.
year later, on July 17, 2018, Rodenburg again sent legal
correspondence directly to Ojogwu. This time, the
correspondence consisted of a garnishment summons, a
non-earnings disclosure worksheet, an exemption notice, and
an accompanying cover letter. Compl. ¶ 25 & Ex. 6.
On the same date, Rodenburg sent Bauer an affidavit of
increased costs and a certificate of service relating to the
case against Ojogwu. Compl. ¶ 27 & Ex. 7. In
response, Ojogwu filed this action against Rodenburg and
Portfolio, alleging that they violated the FDCPA when they
sent the garnishment summons and associated paperwork
directly to Ojogwu.
Standard of Review
reviewing a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim
under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), a court must accept as true all
of the factual allegations in the complaint and draw all
reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor. Aten
v. Scottsdale Ins. Co., 511 F.3d 818, 820 (8th Cir.
2008). Although the factual allegations need not be detailed,
they must be sufficient to “raise a right to relief
above the speculative level . . . .” Bell Atl.
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). The
complaint must “state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.” Id. at 570.
15 U.S.C. § 1692c(a)(2)
alleges that defendants violated 15 U.S.C. § 1692c(a)(2)
when they sent the garnishment summons and associated
paperwork directly to him instead of to his attorney. Section
1692c(a)(2) provides in relevant part:
Without the prior consent of the consumer given directly to
the debt collector or the express permission of a court of
competent jurisdiction, a debt collector may not communicate
with a consumer ...