United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division
ARNOLD SANSONE, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Hospital moves for partial summary judgment on the sole issue
of whether it, as a creditor, is subject to the Fair Debt
Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). (Doc. 37). Mr. Smith
opposes the motion. (Doc. 38). Mr. Smith moves more broadly
for summary judgment on all of his claims. (Doc. 39).
Community Hospital opposes the motion. (Doc. 40). Because
issues of material fact remain in dispute, the cross-motions
for summary judgment are DENIED.
Smith sues Community Hospital alleging violations of the
FDCPA and the Florida Consumer Collections Practices Act
(FCCPA). (Doc. 1). Mr. Smith's causes of action arise out
of medical treatment he received from Community Hospital
(doing business as Florida Hospital Carrollwood).
(Id. at 2). According to Mr. Smith, Community
Hospital violated the FDCPA and the FCCPA when Community
Hospital (1) filed and posted a lien of Mr. Smith's
outstanding medical bill in Hillsborough County's public
records and (2) sent a notification letter and copy of the
hospital lien to Mr. Smith. (Doc. 1). Mr. Smith alleges
Community Hospital violated Sections 1692c(b), 1692d, 1692e,
and 1692f of the FDCPA and Sections 559.72(3), 559.72(5),
559.72(6), 559.72(7), 559.72(9), 559.72(14), and 559.72(18)
of the FCCPA. (Id.). Community Hospital denies it
violated the FDCPA and the FCCPA. (Doc. 10).
Hospital moved for judgment on the pleadings. (Doc. 23, 24).
Mr. Smith opposed the motion. (Doc. 25). In a detailed order,
the court held Mr. Smith could submit an amended complaint on
the following (1) Section 1692c(b) of the FDCPA and (2)
Section 559.72(14) of the FCCPA. (Doc. 30 at 21-22). The
court granted Community Hospital's motion for judgment on
the pleadings for all other sections of the FDCPA and the
FCCPA alleged by Mr. Smith. (Id.)
Smith filed an amended complaint on January 23, 2019. (Doc.
31). Mr. Smith continues to alleges Community Hospital is
subject to the FDCPA because Community Hospital meets the
false name exemption, 15 U.S.C. § 1692a(6). (Doc. 31,
¶ 17-19). Mr. Smith also alleges Community Hospital
violated Sections 1692c(b) and 1692c(a)(2) of the FDCPA and
Sections 559.72(9), 559.72(14), and 559.72(18) of the FCCPA.
(Id. at ¶20-21).
Hospital answered and asserted affirmative defenses. (Doc.
32). Community Hospital moves for summary judgment on whether
Community Hospital meets the false name exception. (Doc. 37).
Mr. Smith opposes Community Hospital's motion and files a
cross-motion for summary judgment on all of his claims. (Doc.
38, 39). Community Hospital opposes Mr. Smith's motion.
order granting summary judgment is appropriate if no genuine
dispute of material fact exists and the moving party is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a).
A fact is material if it might affect the outcome of the suit
under governing law. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, 477
U.S. 242, 248 (1986).
moving party is entitled to summary judgment when the
nonmoving party fails “to make a sufficient showing on
an essential element of her case with respect to which she
has the burden of proof.” Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 316, 323 (1986). The nonmoving party
must “go beyond the pleadings and her own affidavits,
” and she must point to evidence in the record that
demonstrates the existence of a genuine issue for trial.
is the function of the jury to observe demeanor and listen to
testimony in order to determine the credibility of
witness.” United States v. Davis, 809 F.2d
1509, 1512-13 (11th Cir. 1987) (citation omitted). If
evidence requires credibility determinations or deciding
factual inferences in the moving party's favor, summary
judgment is inappropriate because the duty to weigh
credibility and evidence belongs to the jury when the judge
is not the factfinder. Cleveland v. Home Shopping
Network, Inc., 369 F.3d 1189, 1193 (11th Cir. 2004)
(quotation and citation omitted). The court reviews all
record evidence with inferences construed in the nonmoving
party's favor. Id. at 1192-93 (citation
judgment need not be granted simply because the parties
submit cross-motions for summary judgment. United States
v. Oakley, 744 F.2d 1553, 1555 (11th Cir. 1984)
(quotation and citation omitted). Cross-motions for summary
judgment might establish “the non-existence of a
factual dispute when . . . they demonstrate a basic agreement
concerning what legal theories and material facts are
dispositive.” Bricklayers, Masons and Plasterers
Int'l Union of Am. v. Stuart Plastering Co., Inc.,
512 F.2d 1017, 1023 (5th Cir. 1975).
standard for summary judgment under Rule 56 remains
unaffected when the parties submit cross-motions for summary
judgment. Am. Bankers Ins. Grp. v. United States,
408 F.3d 1328, 1331 (11th Cir. 2005) (citation omitted). The
court considers each motion on its own merits and resolves
reasonable inferences “against the party whose motion
is under consideration.” Torres v. Rock & River
Food, Inc., 244 F.Supp.3d 1320, 1327-28 (S.D. Fla. 2016)
(citing American Bankers, 408 F.3d at 1331).
Hospital seeks summary judgment on whether Community Hospital
meets the false name exemption. (Doc. 37). Mr. Smith seeks
summary judgment on whether Community Hospital (1) meets the
false name exception of the FDCPA; (2) violated Section
1692c(a)(2) of the FDCPA; (3) violated Section 1692c(b) of
the FDCPA; (4) violated Section 1692d(3) of the FDCPA (even
though this claim was not alleged in his amended complaint);
(5) violated Section 599.72(7) of the FCCPA (even though this
claim was not alleged in his amended complaint); (6) violated
Section 599.72(9) of the FCCPA (even though judgment on the
pleadings already granted on this claim); (7) violated
Section 599.72(14) of the FCCPA; and (8) violated section
599.72(18) of the FCCPA (even though judgment on the
pleadings already granted on this claim). (Doc. 39).
The FDCPA Claims
obtain summary judgment on an FDCPA claim, the plaintiff must
prove (1) he was an object of collection activity arising
from consumer debt; (2) the defendant is a debt collector
under the FDCPA; and (3) the defendant engaged in activity
the FDCPA prohibits. Goodin v. Bank of ...