A District Court judge in Nevada has granted approval of a plaintiff’s unopposed motion for preliminary approval of a settlement in a class action Fair Debt Collection Practices Act case after the defendant was accused of not properly identifying itself in voicemail messages that were deemed to be initial communications with individuals.
A copy of the ruling in the case of La Caria v. Northstar Location Services can be accessed by clicking here.
The defendant will pay $40,000 to members of the class — about 200 if all the class members opt in to the settlement — along with $5,000 to the named plaintiff and reasonable attorney’s fees and costs.
The plaintiff filed the class-action suit in 2018 after receiving a voicemail from the defendant that said, “Yes, very important message from
Northstar Location Services. This is a call from a professional debt collector, please call back at [phone number]. Thank you.” The voicemail messages left by the defendant to the proposed members of the class did not include the statutorily required disclosure that the defendant is attempting to collect a debt and that any information will be used for that purpose.
The defendant’s policies and procedures were to electronically send collection letters to its letter vendor on the same day that the voicemail messages were left. The letters are then printed and mailed the following day even though they are timestamped with the day the letters are sent to the vendor by the defendant.
The defendant allegedly left the voicemail in question for the plaintiff on Dec. 26, 2017. The following day, the vendor printed and mailed the letter that it was sent by the defendant, although it was dated December 26. After Judge Gloria Navarro of the District Court for the District of Nevada approved a motion to certify a class, the two sides began to negotiate a settlement.
While noting that the plaintiff failed to establish a concrete injury or establish standing to sue, the defendant opted to settle rather than incur the costs associated with continuing to defend itself.