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Judge grants attorney summary judgment in collections suit

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A federal judge ruled in favor of an Indianapolis attorney involved in a class-action suit alleging he violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The judge granted summary judgment to the attorney after finding the class representative fell outside the class definition.

Mark R. Rayl sued Merrill Scooter Moores in May 2009 alleging Moores’ form of initial debt collection communication violated the FDCPA. Moore had been hired to collect past-due homeowner's association fees. The notice of claims filed with the small claims court in each action and served upon the homeowners listed a number to call to reach Moores. Depending on when it was called, it went to one of two voicemail messages regarding the actions. The messages said Moores would only discuss the homeowner’s case at their court date.  

Class certification of the suit was denied in February but was later granted by the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Indiana’s Indianapolis Division in June. The class consisted of “All natural persons sued by Merrill Moores in the name of Wildcat Run Homeowner’s Association on a consumer debt who called the contact telephone number referenced on the Small Claims complaint and heard a voice mail message recorded by defendant Merrill Moores within one year prior to May 1, 2009.” Rayl was made class representative after Moores didn’t contest class certification and Rayl argued he could prove his claim that he did hear the voicemail.

Both parties filed motions for summary judgment.

It turns out that based on the evidence in the summary judgment record, none of the class members actually had heard either voicemail, or that if they did, Moores had any written communication with them within five days after they called. Rayl couldn’t establish that the voicemails violated the FDCPA provisions regarding initial communications because he was unable to prove he called the voicemail line.

Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson removed Rayl as class representative Oct. 28 and postponed ruling on the merits of the other class members’ claims until a suitable class representative appears in the action. The attorneys for the class have 30 days to locate a new class representative.

Judge Magnus-Stinson denied Rayl’s motion for summary judgment as class representative but didn’t rule at the time as to his individual claim.

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  1. I gave tempparry guardship to a friend of my granddaughter in 2012. I went to prison. I had custody. My daughter went to prison to. We are out. My daughter gave me custody but can get her back. She was not order to give me custody . but now we want granddaughter back from friend. She's 14 now. What rights do we have

  2. This sure is not what most who value good governance consider the Rule of Law to entail: "In a letter dated March 2, which Brizzi forwarded to IBJ, the commission dismissed the grievance “on grounds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that you are guilty of misconduct.”" Yet two month later reasonable cause does exist? (Or is the commission forging ahead, the need for reasonable belief be damned? -- A seeming violation of the Rules of Profession Ethics on the part of the commission) Could the rule of law theory cause one to believe that an explanation is in order? Could it be that Hoosier attorneys live under Imperial Law (which is also a t-word that rhymes with infamy) in which the Platonic guardians can do no wrong and never owe the plebeian class any explanation for their powerful actions. (Might makes it right?) Could this be a case of politics directing the commission, as celebrated IU Mauer Professor (the late) Patrick Baude warned was happening 20 years ago in his controversial (whisteblowing) ethics lecture on a quite similar topic: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1498&context=ilj

  3. I have a case presently pending cert review before the SCOTUS that reveals just how Indiana regulates the bar. I have been denied licensure for life for holding the wrong views and questioning the grand inquisitors as to their duties as to state and federal constitutional due process. True story: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS Shorter, Amici brief serving to frame issue as misuse of govt licensure: https://www.scribd.com/doc/312841269/Thomas-More-Society-Amicus-Brown-v-Ind-Bd-of-Law-Examiners

  4. Here's an idea...how about we MORE heavily regulate the law schools to reduce the surplus of graduates, driving starting salaries up for those new grads, so that we can all pay our insane amount of student loans off in a reasonable amount of time and then be able to afford to do pro bono & low-fee work? I've got friends in other industries, radiology for example, and their schools accept a very limited number of students so there will never be a glut of new grads and everyone's pay stays high. For example, my radiologist friend's school accepted just six new students per year.

  5. I totally agree with John Smith.

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