In Hylton v. Anytime Towing, 2012 WL 5498887 (S.D.Cal. 2012), Judge Curiel found that city towing fees were not ‘debts’ under the FDCPA or Rosenthal Act.
Courts have held that a motor vehicle impoundment and towing fees arising out of action authorized by state law enforcement agency do not constitute a “debt” within the meaning of Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Betts v. Equifax Credit Info. Servs., Inc., 245 F.Supp.2d 1130, 1133 (W.D.Wa.2003); Corridean v. Restore Finan. Servs., 2007 WL 1114221 (D.Or.2007) (holding that vehicle impoundment by Sergeants contacted by a charity does not arise from a consensual transaction where the parties negotiated for consumer related goods or ser-vices). The Betts court explained that “impoundment of one’s vehicle and statutory liability that necessarily attaches are not akin to even a broad interpretation of a contractual, business, or otherwise consensual arrangement for services rendered. There is simply no ‘transaction’ between the parties.” Id. at 1133–34. ¶ . . . ¶ The Robbins– Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“RFDCPA”) “like its federal counter-part, is designed to protect consumers from unfair and abusive debt collection practices.” Robinson v. Man-aged Accts. Receivable Corp., 654 F.Supp.2d 1051, 1060 (C.D.Cal.2009) (citing Cal. Civ.Code § 1788.1). The RFDCPA prohibits unfair or deceptive acts or practices in the collection of consumer debts and provides for recovery of actual damages for violations and penalties for willful violations. Cal. Civil Code § 1788 et seq. Under RFDCPA, “ ‘debt collection’ “ means any act or practice in connection with the collection of consumer debts. Cal. Civil Code § 1788.2(b). “Debt collector” means any “any person who, in the ordinary course of business, regularly, on behalf of himself or herself or others, engages in debt collection. The term includes any person who com-poses and sells, or offers to compose and sell, forms, letters, and other collection media used or intended to be used for debt collection….” Id. § 1788.2(c). “Consumer debt” means “money, property or their equivalent, due or owing or alleged to be due or owing from a natural person by reason of a consumer credit transaction.” Id. § 1788.2(f). “Consumer credit transaction” “means a transaction between a natural person and another person in which property, services or money is acquired on credit by that natural person from such other person primarily for personal, family, or household purposes.” Id. § 1788.2(e). ¶ Defendant argues that since the RFDCPA incorporates the FDCPA, Plaintiff is unable to show a RFDCPA violation. Specifically, Defendant provides a declaration demonstrating it is not a “debt collector” as defined under the Act and the money owed does not qualify as a consumer “debt.” (See Dkt. No. 83–5, Cravens Decl. ¶¶ 19–21.) In opposition, Plaintiff does not address Defendant’s argument. In his motion for summary judgment, Plaintiff states, “[a]ll exhibits and papers filed by Anytime Towing show that Anytime Towing refuses to acknowledge its duties and obligations under the … Rosenthal Act.” (Dkt. No. 86–2 at 21.) The party opposing summary judgment must direct the Court to specific, triable fact. Gordon v. Virtumundo, Inc., 575 F.3d 1040, 1058 (9th Cir.2009). Plaintiff has failed to meet his burden to demonstrate a triable issue of fact. Accordingly, the Court GRANTS Defendant’s motion for summary adjudication on Count Five for violations of the RFDCPA and the Court DENIES Plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment on this claim.