Zemeckis v. Global Credit & Collection Corp., No. 11–2334.

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtFLAUM
Citation679 F.3d 632
Decision Date29 June 2012
Docket NumberNo. 11–2334.
PartiesMisty M. ZEMECKIS, Plaintiff–Appellant, v. GLOBAL CREDIT & COLLECTION CORPORATION, Defendant–Appellee.

679 F.3d 632

Misty M. ZEMECKIS, Plaintiff–Appellant,
v.
GLOBAL CREDIT & COLLECTION CORPORATION, Defendant–Appellee.

No. 11–2334.

United States Court of Appeals,
Seventh Circuit.

Argued March 27, 2012.
Decided May 11, 2012.

Rehearing and Rehearing En Banc Denied June 29, 2012.


[679 F.3d 633]


David J. Philipps (argued), Attorney, Philipps & Philipps, Palos Hills, IL, for Plaintiff–Appellant.

David J. Kaminski (argued), Attorney, Carlson & Messer LLP, Los Angeles, CA,

[679 F.3d 634]

Brian J. Olszewski, Attorney, Blitt & Gaines, P.C., Wheeling, IL, for Defendant–Appellee.


Before FLAUM, WILLIAMS, and TINDER, Circuit Judges.

FLAUM, Circuit Judge.

In 2010, Misty Zemeckis (“Zemeckis”) owed Capital One Bank money. Capital One Bank retained Global Credit & Collection Corp. (“Global Credit”) to collect her debt. Global Credit, in turn, sent Zemeckis a dunning letter, which included a notice of her debt validation rights. Zemeckis claims, however, that the letter's content as a whole overshadowed the debt validation notice, thereby violating Section 1692g of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (the “FDCPA”), 15 U.S.C. § 1692g. The district court disagreed and dismissed her claim. SeeFed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). She presently appeals, arguing that the district court improperly rejected her request to conduct a consumer survey in order to prove that Global Credit's letter was confusing. We affirm the district court.

I. Background

On March 29, 2010, Global Credit, a debt collection company, sent Zemeckis a letter prompting her to pay her debt to Capital One Bank. Zemeckis, maintaining that the letter's content violated the FDCPA, brought a class action law suit against Global Credit. The letter's insistent language and repeated threats of legal action against her, she claimed, created a false sense of urgency that overshadowed statutorily mandated language informing her that she had thirty days to contest the validity of the debt. In particular, the letter “urge[d] [her] to take action now,” as well as to “[c]all [Global Credit's] office today....” It also stressed Capital One Bank's right to pursue legal action against her, warning that “[her] account now meets ... [the] guidelines for legal action” and that “Capital One Bank (USA), N.A. may be forced to take legal action.” Juxtaposed against the validation notice, which Global Credit placed on the back of the debt collection letter, the letter's language and structure obscured her legal rights and thwarted the notice required by the FDCPA.

Zemeckis contended that, in the alternative, the issue of whether the letter violated the FDCPA was an issue of fact, and requested that the district court permit her to conduct a consumer survey to test the overshadowing or confusing nature of the letter.

On March 24, 2011, Global Credit filed a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6). The district court granted the motion, finding, first, that our precedent dismisses language like “act now” as puffery that does not subvert a debtor's notice of his thirty-day validation right. The district court concluded, second, that our case law upholds the placement of the mandatory validation notice on the back of a collection letter as comporting with the FDCPA, especially when clear language on the front of the letter instructs the debtor to read the back of the letter for important information. Accordingly, the district court ruled that the letter was permissible under the FDCPA as a matter of law and denied Zemeckis' request to conduct a consumer survey. She appeals.

II. Discussion

We review the grant of a motion to dismiss de novo, accepting all well-pled facts as true and construing all inferences in favor of the plaintiff. Tamayo v. Blagojevich, 526 F.3d 1074, 1081 (7th Cir.2008). To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must “state a claim to relief that is plausible

[679 F.3d 635]

on its face.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009) (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007)). A claim satisfies this pleading standard when its factual allegations “raise a right to relief above the speculative level.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555–56, 127 S.Ct. 1955;see also Swanson v. Citibank, N.A., 614 F.3d 400, 404 (7th Cir.2010) ( “[P]laintiff must give enough details about the subject-matter of the case to present a story that holds together.”).

A. Zemeckis Fails to State a Claim Under FDCPA Section 1692g

Under Section 1692g, a debt collector's dunning letter to a debtor must contain:

(1) the amount of the debt; (2) the name of the creditor to whom the debt is owed; (3) a statement that unless the consumer, within thirty days after receipt of the notice, disputes the validity of the debt, or any portion thereof, the debt will be assumed to be valid by the debt collector; (4) a statement that if the consumer notifies the debt collector in writing within the thirty-day period that the debt, or any portion thereof, is disputed, the debt collector will obtain verification of the debt or a...

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172 practice notes
  • McMahon v. LVNV Funding, LLC, No. 12 C 1410
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 7th Circuit. United States District Court (Northern District of Illinois)
    • March 14, 2018
    ...the letter that not even a significant fraction of the population would be misled by it.’ " Zemeckis v. Global Credit & Collection Corp., 679 F.3d 632, 636 (7th Cir. 2012) (quoting Taylor v. Cavalry Inv., L.L.C., 365 F.3d 572, 574 (7th Cir. 2004) ). "[A] letter may confuse even though it is......
  • Hirst v. Skywest, Inc., No. 15 C 02036
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 7th Circuit. United States District Court (Northern District of Illinois)
    • May 24, 2016
    ...all well-pleaded facts as true and construes all inferences in favor of the plaintiff. Zemeckis v. Global Credit & Collection Corp., 679 F.3d 632, 634 (7th Cir. 2012). 2. Because all of the named plaintiffs are women, this opinion uses female pronouns. 3. SkyWest is not, as the plaintiffs a......
  • Pollard v. Law Office of Mandy L. Spaulding, No. 13–2478.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (1st Circuit)
    • September 8, 2014
    ...to pay. Letters of this latter stripe normally are found not to be confusing. See, e.g., Zemeckis v. Global Credit & Collection Corp., 679 F.3d 632, 636 (7th Cir.2012). So, too, open-ended collection letters that demand payment without reference to any temporal framework typically do not vi......
  • Johnson v. Alltran Educ., LP, No. 17 CV 6616
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 7th Circuit. United States District Court (Northern District of Illinois)
    • May 7, 2018
    ...the letter that not even a significant fraction of the population would be misled by it.' " Zemeckis v. Glob. Credit & Collection Corp., 679 F.3d 632, 636 (7th Cir. 2012) (quoting Taylor v. Cavalry Invs., LLC, 365 F.3d 572, 574 (7th Cir. 2004) (internal quotation marks omitted)). A. Alleged......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
172 cases
  • McMahon v. LVNV Funding, LLC, No. 12 C 1410
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 7th Circuit. United States District Court (Northern District of Illinois)
    • March 14, 2018
    ...the letter that not even a significant fraction of the population would be misled by it.’ " Zemeckis v. Global Credit & Collection Corp., 679 F.3d 632, 636 (7th Cir. 2012) (quoting Taylor v. Cavalry Inv., L.L.C., 365 F.3d 572, 574 (7th Cir. 2004) ). "[A] letter may confuse even though it is......
  • Hirst v. Skywest, Inc., No. 15 C 02036
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 7th Circuit. United States District Court (Northern District of Illinois)
    • May 24, 2016
    ...all well-pleaded facts as true and construes all inferences in favor of the plaintiff. Zemeckis v. Global Credit & Collection Corp., 679 F.3d 632, 634 (7th Cir. 2012). 2. Because all of the named plaintiffs are women, this opinion uses female pronouns. 3. SkyWest is not, as the plaintiffs a......
  • Pollard v. Law Office of Mandy L. Spaulding, No. 13–2478.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (1st Circuit)
    • September 8, 2014
    ...to pay. Letters of this latter stripe normally are found not to be confusing. See, e.g., Zemeckis v. Global Credit & Collection Corp., 679 F.3d 632, 636 (7th Cir.2012). So, too, open-ended collection letters that demand payment without reference to any temporal framework typically do not vi......
  • Johnson v. Alltran Educ., LP, No. 17 CV 6616
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 7th Circuit. United States District Court (Northern District of Illinois)
    • May 7, 2018
    ...the letter that not even a significant fraction of the population would be misled by it.' " Zemeckis v. Glob. Credit & Collection Corp., 679 F.3d 632, 636 (7th Cir. 2012) (quoting Taylor v. Cavalry Invs., LLC, 365 F.3d 572, 574 (7th Cir. 2004) (internal quotation marks omitted)). A. Alleged......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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