ILNews

Class not certified in suit against lawyer

Back to TopE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

A federal judge denied a motion for class certification in a suit filed under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act against an Indianapolis attorney. However, he did suggest the plaintiff file another motion for class certification for two separate groups.

U.S. District Judge William Lawrence denied Mark R. Rayl's motion for class certification Thursday because he didn't believe Rayl is an appropriate class representative for the entire proposed class. Rayl filed the suit in federal court against Merrill Scooter Moores in May 2009 alleging Moores' form of initial debt collection communication violated the FDCPA.

Moores filed more than 100 notices of claim in Marion County Small Claims Court in May 2008 alleging unpaid or delinquent dues for the Wildcat Run Homeowners' Association. The notices had a telephone number for Moores that went to a voicemail message from Moores about the unpaid dues. Rayl received a notice and believed the message was an "initial communication" by a debt collector as defined by the FDCPA and that Moores violated the act by failing to provide certain information that the statute requires provided within five days of the initial communication.

Rayl wanted the court to certify a class of people who were sued by Moores regarding the Wildcat Run debt between May 1, 2008 and May 1, 2009, in which "a telephone number leading to a pre-recorded voice mail message was referenced as a contact telephone number" for Moores on the small claims complaint.

The case, Mark R. Rayl, individually and on behalf of those similarly situated v. Merrill Moores, No. 1:09-CV-554, was filed in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division.

Judge Lawrence had concerns regarding the typicality requirement and the related adequacy of representation requirement under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23.

"The problem is this: the proposed class includes all of those who were sued by means of a notice of claim containing a telephone number that led to the Defendant's pre-recorded voice mail message," he wrote. "Without prejudging the merits, it is not entirely clear to the Court how those members of the class who did not actually listen to the voice mail message (or at least learn of its contents) will be able to demonstrate that the voice mail message was an 'initial communication' as to them."

Judge Lawrence suggested the proposed class actually is made of two groups: people who heard the message and those who did not. As such, Rayl would only be an appropriate class representative for one of those two groups. The judge explained Rayl is free to file another motion to certify addressing the concerns of the court or the case can proceed as to Rayl individually.

Moores faces potential sanctions in this case for his failure to appear and his blatant ignoring of the case, opposing counsel, and the court's orders, according to a Jan. 22 order following a show cause hearing. Magistrate Judge Tim Baker laid out in the order how Moores, who is representing himself in the action, "has wholly abandoned any defense of this action." Moores was ordered to respond to Rayl's outstanding discovery by today. Magistrate Judge Baker suggested sanctions such as reimbursement of Rayl's reasonable fees and costs because of Moores' "insouciant conduct" even if Rayl doesn't prevail on his claim or even possible admonishment.

ADVERTISEMENT

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. One can only wonder whether Mr. Kimmel was paid for his work by Mr. Burgh ... or whether that bill fell to the citizens of Indiana, many of whom cannot afford attorneys for important matters. It really doesn't take a judge(s) to know that "pavement" can be considered a deadly weapon. It only takes a brain and some education or thought. I'm glad to see the conviction was upheld although sorry to see that the asphalt could even be considered "an issue".

  2. In response to bryanjbrown: thank you for your comment. I am familiar with Paul Ogden (and applaud his assistance to Shirley Justice) and have read of Gary Welsh's (strange) death (and have visited his blog on many occasions). I am not familiar with you (yet). I lived in Kosciusko county, where the sheriff was just removed after pleading in what seems a very "sweetheart" deal. Unfortunately, something NEEDS to change since the attorneys won't (en masse) stand up for ethics (rather making a show to please the "rules" and apparently the judges). I read that many attorneys are underemployed. Seems wisdom would be to cull the herd and get rid of the rotting apples in practice and on the bench, for everyone's sake as well as justice. I'd like to file an attorney complaint, but I have little faith in anything (other than the most flagrant and obvious) resulting in action. My own belief is that if this was medicine, there'd be maimed and injured all over and the carnage caused by "the profession" would be difficult to hide. One can dream ... meanwhile, back to figuring out to file a pro se "motion to dismiss" as well as another court required paper that Indiana is so fond of providing NO resources for (unlike many other states, who don't automatically assume that citizens involved in the court process are scumbags) so that maybe I can get the family law attorney - whose work left me with no settlement, no possessions and resulted in the death of two pets (etc ad nauseum) - to stop abusing the proceedings supplemental and small claims rules and using it as a vehicle for harassment and apparently, amusement.

  3. Been on social security sense sept 2011 2massive strokes open heart surgery and serious ovarian cancer and a blood clot in my lung all in 14 months. Got a letter in may saying that i didn't qualify and it was in form like i just applied ,called social security she said it don't make sense and you are still geting a check in june and i did ,now i get a check from my part D asking for payment for july because there will be no money for my membership, call my prescription coverage part D and confirmed no check will be there.went to social security they didn't want to answer whats going on just said i should of never been on it .no one knows where this letter came from was California im in virginia and been here sense my strokes and vcu filed for my disability i was in the hospital when they did it .It's like it was a error . My ,mothers social security was being handled in that office in California my sister was dealing with it and it had my social security number because she died last year and this letter came out of the same office and it came at the same time i got the letter for my mother benefits for death and they had the same date of being typed just one was on the mail Saturday and one on Monday. . I think it's a mistake and it should been fixed instead there just getting rid of me .i never got a formal letter saying when i was being tsken off.

  4. Employers should not have racially discriminating mind set. It has huge impact on the society what the big players do or don't do in the industry. Background check is conducted just to verify whether information provided by the prospective employee is correct or not. It doesn't have any direct combination with the rejection of the employees. If there is rejection, there should be something effective and full-proof things on the table that may keep the company or the people associated with it in jeopardy.

  5. Unlike the federal judge who refused to protect me, the Virginia State Bar gave me a hearing. After the hearing, the Virginia State Bar refused to discipline me. VSB said that attacking me with the court ADA coordinator had, " all the grace and charm of a drive-by shooting." One does wonder why the VSB was able to have a hearing and come to that conclusion, but the federal judge in Indiana slammed the door of the courthouse in my face.

ADVERTISEMENT