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Gold v. Midland Credit Management, Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. California

July 9, 2014

ELLEN ANNETE GOLD, Plaintiff,
v.
MIDLAND CREDIT MANAGEMENT, INC., et al., Defendants.

DISCOVERY ORDER Re: Dkt. No. 59

MARIA-ELENA JAMES, Magistrate Judge.

INTRODUCTION

Pending before the Court is the parties' Joint Discovery Dispute Letter No. 1, filed June 19, 2014. Dkt. No. 59. In the joint letter, Plaintiff Ellen Gold seeks to compel Defendants Midland Credit Management, Inc. ("MCM") and Midland Funding, LLC to produce a witness who can testify regarding the design, use, and efficacy of MCM's collection notices and educational brochures.

BACKGROUND

MCM is a corporation that operates via mail and telephone in an attempt to collect debts alleged to be due another. Compl., Dkt. No. 1 at 3. Midland Funding is a limited liability company that also collects debts alleged to be due another via mail and telephone. Id. at 3-4. Both Defendants are "debt collectors" within the meaning of 15 U.S.C. § 1693a(6) and California Civil Code § 1788.2. Id.

Plaintiff Ellen Gold filed this consumer class action suit on behalf of herself and all others similarly situated, alleging Defendants' collection notices misrepresented their ability to update, amend, or otherwise improve the credit reporting of HSBC Bank in violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act ("FDCPA"), 15 U.S.C. § 1692, and of the Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, Cal. Civ. Code §§ 1788-1788.33. Compl., at 1-2. Plaintiff seeks declaratory judgment and statutory damages. Id. at 2.

Defendants asserted five affirmative defenses: (1) bona fide error, (2) no willful conduct, (3) unreasonable restraint of Defendants' First Amendment rights, (4) Plaintiff's claims are subject to binding arbitration, and (5) materiality. Dkt. No. 9 at 9-13. On March 27, 2014, Plaintiff served MCM with Notice of Taking Oral Deposition of Defendant, Midland Credit Management, Inc., Pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 30(b)(6) ("Deposition Notice"). Jt. Ltr., Ex. A. On June 19, 2014, the parties filed this joint discovery dispute letter. Jt. Ltr. at 1. Although discovery is closed, the parties have stipulated to an extension of time to resolve this issue. Id. at 3.

DISCUSSION

A. Rule 30(b)(6) Deposition Topics

In their letter, the parties address Plaintiff's discovery requests regarding MCM's affirmative defense of materiality. On March 27, 2014, Plaintiff propounded a Rule 30(b)(6) deposition notice on MCM compelling it to produce a witness who could testify as to certain topics concerning the design, use, and efficacy of MCM's collection notices and educational brochures in the form of Exhibit 1. Id., Ex. A. Topic Nos. 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17, and 18 are in dispute.

1. Topic No. 11

Topic No. 11 seeks to compel MCM to produce a witness regarding "[t]he design, use, and efficacy of collection notices and educational brochures' in the form of Exhibit 1.'" Jt. Ltr., Ex. A at 2-3. MCM objected to this request on the grounds that it seeks testimony that is neither relevant to the subject matter of this action nor reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence. Id., Ex. B at 8. Additionally, MCM objected to the use of the terms "design, use, and efficacy" as vague and ambiguous. Id.

2. Topic No. 12 & 14

Topic No. 12 asks MCM to provide a witness to testify regarding "[t]he names, titles, residence address, and residence telephone numbers of all persons who participated in designing, creating, furnishing, compiling or printing collection notices and educational brochures' in the form of Exhibit 1.'" Id. Topic No. 14 asks MCM for a witness who could provide "[t]he names, titles, resident addresses, and resident telephone numbers of all persons who reviewed and/or approved collection notices and educational brochures' prior to their mailing by MCM." Id., Ex. A at 3. MCM objected to both Topic Nos. 12 and 14 on the basis that they seek testimony that is neither relevant to the subject matter of this action nor reasonably calculated to lead to the ...


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