The opinion of the court was delivered by: Morrison C. England, Jr. United States District Judge
Plaintiffs Gerald and Theresa Huffman ("Plaintiffs") initiated this action in Sacramento County Superior Court on January 14, 2011, and Defendant Target Corporation ("Defendant") removed the case to this Court on February 18, 2011. Presently before the Court is Plaintiffs' Motion to Remand ("Motion"). For the following reasons, Plaintiffs' Motion is GRANTED.*fn1
Plaintiffs filed their Complaint in state court, alleging causes of action arising out of Defendant's violation of California's Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act ("RFDCPA"), California Civil Code §§ 1788-1788.32, and Unfair Competition Law ("UCL"), Business and Professions Code § 17200, et seq. Plaintiffs generally allege that Defendant engaged in unlawful debt collection practices by, among other things, contacting Plaintiffs by telephone on numerous occasions, even after being advised that Plaintiffs were represented by counsel. According to Plaintiffs, Defendant's actions constitute violations of the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act ("FDCPA"), 15 U.S.C. § 1692, et seq., and thus also constitute violations of the RFDCPA. These alleged RFDCPA violations in turn establish violations of the UCL.
More specifically, Plaintiffs allege that prior to November 2010, they incurred financial obligations owing to Defendant and qualifying as "debt" and "consumer debt" under California Civil Code § 1788.2(d), (f). Complaint, ¶ 16. Because these obligations were incurred for "personal, family or household purposes," they also constitute "debt(s)" under 15 U.S.C. ¶ 1692a(5). Id., ¶ 17.
Plaintiffs became delinquent on their payments and, on approximately
November 21, 2010, Defendant called one of the Plaintiff's*fn2
cell phones to demand payment. Id., ¶¶ 18-19. That Plaintiff
provided the caller with the name of the attorney Plaintiffs had
retained to assist them with their financial difficulties. Id., ¶ 19.
According to Plaintiffs, this call from Defendant constituted a
"communication" under 15 U.S.C. § 1692a(2), a "debt collection" under
California Civil Code § 1788.2(b), and an "initial communication"
under 15 U.S.C. § 1692g(a). Id., ¶ 20.
Despite having been provided with the name of Plaintiffs' counsel, Defendant informed Plaintiffs it would continue to call Plaintiffs directly, and, over approximately the next month, proceeded to do so. Id., ¶¶ 21-22. For example, on December 28, 2010, Defendant's employee contacted Mr. Huffman demanding information from him and informing him that "Target does not call lawyers." Id., ¶ 25. Defendant then continued to make additional calls, including three calls on January 2, 2011, and two calls the following day. Id., ¶ 28.
Plaintiffs notified their counsel of the calls, and one of the attorney's staff members attempted to provide verbal notice to Defendant that counsel had been retained. Id., ¶ 30. Defendant indicated to that staff member that it was aware Plaintiffs were represented and that it already had counsel's contact information. Id.
Plaintiffs thus complain as follows: These calls made by Defendant despite Defendant's knowledge of Plaintiff's retention of an attorney in addition to having that attorney's name, address and communication information is a direct violation of 15 U.S.C. 1692c(a)(2). Id., ¶ 23.
Because these acts violated certain provisions of 15 U.S.C. 1692c(a)(2), the acts are also a violation of Cal. Civ. Code § 1788.17. Id., ¶ 24.
The natural consequence of this and every other call made once Defendant was aware Plaintiff was represented by counsel can only be interpreted as having the natural consequence of harassing, oppressing or abusing Plaintiff, and thus in violation of 15 U.S.C. § 1692d, et seq. Id., ¶ 26.
Because these acts violated certain provisions of 15 U.S.C. 1692d, the acts are also a violation of Cal. Civ. Code § 1788.17. Id., ¶ 27.
Again, these calls equate to violations of Cal. Civ. Code § 1788.17, as they violate certain provisions of 15 U.S.C. 1692, et seq. Id., ¶ 29.
Defendant's continued and relentless collection efforts upon Plaintiff has caused Plaintiff worry, confusion, and distress concerning their right to be free from these calls ...