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Leonides Lorenzo Cruz, Successor v. International Collection

March 8, 2012

LEONIDES LORENZO CRUZ, SUCCESSOR IN INTEREST TO HERMINIA LORENZO CRUZ, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
INTERNATIONAL COLLECTION CORPORATION, A CALIFORNIA CORPORATION AND CHARLES D. HENDRICKSON, INDIVIDUALLY AND IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY, DEFENDANTS-APPELLANTS.



Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of California Richard Seeborg, District Judge, Presiding D.C. No.5:08-cv-00991-JF

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Bea, Circuit Judge

FOR PUBLICATION

Argued and Submitted November 14, 2011-San Francisco, California

Before: John T. Noonan and Carlos T. Bea, Circuit Judges, and Donald E. Walter, Senior District Judge.*fn1

OPINION

OPINION

Defendants-Appellants International Collection Corporation and Charles D. Hendrickson appeal the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of plaintiff-appellee Her- minia Lorenzo Cruz on her claim under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), 15 U.S.C. § 1692 and the district court's orders granting three of plaintiff 's post-summary judgment motions. The notice of appeal was untimely filed as to the latter three post-summary judgment orders; we will dismiss these appeals for lack of jurisdiction.

In granting summary judgment for Cruz, the district court held that there was no genuine issue of material fact but that International Collection Corporation (ICC) had violated the FDCPA and that Hendrickson was personally liable as ICC's sole owner, officer, and director because he qualified as a "debt collector" under the FDCPA. We will affirm upon the grounds stated by the district court. Accordingly, we affirm the district court's order granting summary judgment under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 for plaintiff.

I. Factual and Procedural Background

The relevant facts of this case are not in dispute. On April 15 and 16, 2006, Herminia Lorenzo Cruz wrote two checks to Harrah's Casino in Reno, Nevada. The checks bounced. Sometime thereafter, Harrah's assigned the claim based on the dishonored checks to International Collection Corporation (ICC) for collection. ICC sent a collection letter to Cruz on October 19, 2006 seeking recovery of $500 in principal and $25.47 in interest for a total of $525.47.

On October 27, 2006, Cruz sent a certified letter addressed to ICC stating that she disputed the debt and refused to pay the amount in question.

After receiving Cruz's letter, ICC continued to communicate with Cruz in an attempt to collect the debt. On October 31, 2006, ICC wrote a second collection letter to Cruz seeking to collect $500 in principal, $27.11 in interest, and $50 in "re-turn check fee(s)." This letter stated:

Our attorneys have advised us that under California law 1719 Civil Code, states [sic] that unless cash or certified funds in the amount of your NSF check(s) plus the cost of $25 for each returned item is received by us in 30 days from the date of this letter, we are entitled to recover for our client, the amount of the checks(s) [sic], plus treble damages up to $1500 for each bad check.

If suit is filed, you will also be responsible for interest, court costs, and service for process fees. The court may also award us attorney fees.

Id.

On November 6, 2006, ICC sent Cruz a third letter stating that Cruz owed $500 in principal and $27.93 in interest, but nothing for a "return check fee," for a total of $527.93. On November 24, 2006, ICC sent Cruz a fourth letter stating that Cruz owed $500 in principal, nothing for "treble damages," and $30.40 in interest for a total balance of $530.40.

On December 11, 2006, ICC sent Cruz a fifth letter stating that Cruz owed $500 in principal, $1500 in treble damages, and $32.72 in interest for a total balance of $2032.72. On December 28, 2006, ICC sent Cruz a sixth letter stating that Cruz owed $500.00 in principal, $1,500.00 in treble damages, and $35.05 in interest for a total amount of $2,035.05. The same day, Cruz mailed ICC a second letter stating that Cruz disputed the debt and refused to pay.

On January 8, 2007, ICC sent Cruz a seventh letter stating that Cruz owed $500.00 in principal, $1,500.00 in treble damages, and $36.56 in interest for a total of $2,036.56. This letter stated all in capital letters: "WE HAVE SPENT A LOT OF TIME AND MONEY TRYING TO REACH YOU. WE NEED YOUR IMMEDIATE ATTENTION. THE SEVEN YEARS THIS WILL REMAIN ON ALL THREE CREDIT BUREAUS HAS FAR REACHING EFFECTS. WE URGE YOU TO CONSIDER YOUR ACTIONS AND TELEPHONE US . . . ." Id.

On February 21, 2007, ICC sent Cruz an eighth letter stating that Cruz owed $500 in principal, $1,500 in treble damages, and $42.59 in interest for a total amount of $2,042.59. This letter stated, again all in capital letters:

BEFORE COMMENCING A LAWSUIT THROUGH THE OFFICES OF FRANKLIN LOVE, I AM OFFERING YOU THIS FINAL OPPORTUNITY TO PAY THIS ACCOUNT IN FULL OR TO ...


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