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Spoor v. Hamoui

United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division

January 9, 2017

JEANETTE A. SPOOR, Plaintiff,
v.
NAZIR HAMOUI, GULF COAST COLLECTION BUREAU, INC. and U.S. ONCOLOGY CORPORATE, INC., Defendants.

          ORDER

          JAMES S. MOODY, JR. JUDGE

         THIS CAUSE comes before the Court upon Plaintiff's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment (Dkt. 46), Defendant Nazir Hamoui's Response to Plaintiff's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment (Dkt. 54), and Defendant Nazir Hamoui's Renewed Motion to Withdraw Facts Deemed Admitted Pursuant to Rule 36(b) (Dkt. 57). Upon review of the filings, the Court grants Defendant's Motion to Withdraw and denies Plaintiff's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment.

         BACKGROUND

         On July 16, 2015, Plaintiff Jeanette Spoor filed a complaint in state court, alleging that several defendants violated provisions of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”) and Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act (“FCCPA”). The case was removed to federal court on September 30, 2015 (Dkt. 1).

         Plaintiff served discovery requests on the defendants on March 24, 2016. In the case of Defendant Nazir Hamoui (hereafter “Defendant”), the discovery request was twenty pages long and included interrogatories, requests for production, and requests for admission. Defendant responded to the interrogatories and requests for production on June 23, 2016. Defendant failed to respond to the requests for admission, which consisted of five questions on the nineteenth page of the discovery request.

         On November 8, 2016, Plaintiff filed a motion for partial summary judgment (Dkt. 46) against Defendant on one of her claims (i.e., a claim that Defendant violated Florida Statute section 559.72, subsections (9) and (18)). Plaintiff argues that because Defendant failed to answer the requests for admission, all elements of this claim are deemed admitted, and therefore Plaintiff is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.

         On December 13, 2016, Defendant filed his response to Plaintiff's motion (Dkt. 54), as well as an affidavit by Defendant (Dkt. 54-1), a motion for leave to withdraw the deemed admissions (Dkt. 53), and proffered responses to the five requests for admission (Dkt. 53-1). The Court denied Defendant's motion for leave to withdraw without prejudice because Defendant failed to comply with Local Rule 3.01(g) (Dkt. 55). Defendant then filed a second motion for leave to withdraw (Dkt. 57) on December 16, 2016. Plaintiff did not file a response to either of Defendant's motions.

         DISCUSSION

         I. Withdrawal or Amendment of Admissions

         A. Legal Standard

         The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure allow a party to serve another party with a written request to admit the truth of relevant matters. Fed.R.Civ.P. § 36(a)(1). If the other party does not respond within thirty days of service of the request, or within the time period stipulated to by the parties or ordered by the court, the matters are deemed admitted. Fed.R.Civ.P. § 36(a)(3). The matter is conclusively established unless the court, upon motion by a party, allows the party to withdraw or amend the admissions. Fed.R.Civ.P. § 36(b).

         The court may allow the party to withdraw or amend the admissions “if it would promote the presentation of the merits of the action and if the court is not persuaded that it would prejudice the requesting party in maintaining or defending the action on the merits.” Id. Thus, the court should apply a two-part test to decide whether to grant or deny a motion to withdraw or amend admissions. Perez v. Miami-Dade County, 297 F.3d 1255, 1264 (11th Cir. 2002) (citing Smith v. First Nat'l Bank, 837 F.2d 1575, 1577 (11th Cir. 1988)). The court must first consider whether the withdrawal or amendment will subserve the presentation of the merits. Id. It must then determine whether the withdrawal or amendment will prejudice the party who obtained the admission in presenting its case. Id.

         B. Analysis

         The Court concludes that both prongs of this test are met. Withdrawal of the deemed admissions will subserve, or promote, the parties' presentation of the merits of the case. Here, the deemed admissions establish elements of Plaintiff's claim that Defendant violated Florida Statute section 559.72, subsections (9) and (18), by attempting to enforce a debt that he knew was not legitimate and communicating with a debtor that he knew was represented by an attorney. The deemed admissions establish (1) that Defendant received notice of Plaintiff's bankruptcy in January 2015 and subsequently (2) sent letters to Plaintiff requesting payment of a debt incurred in 2014 and (3) referred the debt to a collection agency. As indicated by Defendant's affidavit and proffered responses to the requests for admission, he disputes that he received notice of Plaintiff's bankruptcy in January 2015, that he sent the letters to Plaintiff, and that he referred the debt to a collection agency after he had knowledge of Plaintiff's bankruptcy. Whereas deeming these ...


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