In Riggs v. Prober & Raphael, 2010 WL 3238969 (N.D.Cal.), Judge Fogel held that, under Iqbal and Twombly, an FDCPA plaintiff failed to state a claim for lack of meaningful attorney involvement or for violating the Camacho standard for debt validation warnings. As to the former, Judge Fogel explained,
Plaintiff contends that her allegations that (1) Defendants sent the collection letter; (2) the collection letter represented or implied that Plaintiff’s account had been reviewed by Prober; and (3) the collection letter contains a facsimile signature of Prober’s are sufficient to state a claim under Sections 1692e(3) and 1692e(10).FN2 She relies upon two cases from the Second Circuit, Clomon v. Jackson, 988 F.2d 1314 (2d Cir.1993), and Reade-Alvarez v. Elman, Eltman & Cooper, P.C., 369 F.Supp.2d 353 (E.D.N.Y.2005). . . . ¶ Plaintiff’s allegations certainly are consistent with the possibility that Defendants violated Section 1692e. However, at least since Twombly and Iqbal, this is not enough. As one district court in this circuit commented recently: In Iqbal the Supreme Court set forth a two-pronged approach by which courts were to review the sufficiency of allegations in a complaint. First, a court reviews the complaint and discounts any allegations therein that amount to little more than “threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements.” 129 S.Ct. at 1949. A complaint must include “more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation.” Id. Next, the court examines the remaining allegations to determine whether they “state a plausible claim for relief,” with the understanding that such allegations are accepted as being true and any reasonable inferences that arise therefrom are to be accorded in the pleader’s favor. Id. at 1950. A claim is plausible, as opposed to merely possible, if its factual content “allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id. at 1949. In contrast, a complaint alleging facts that are “merely consistent with a defendant’s liability, stops short of the line between possibility and plausibility of entitlement to relief.” Id. Gordon v. City of Moreno Valley, 687 F.Supp.2d 930, 943-44 (C.D.Cal. Aug. 31, 2009). Plaintiff’s allegations with respect to Defendants’ representation of Prober’s role do not “cross the line” between possibility and plausibility. Plaintiff is advised to amend her complaint to include such factual allegations, if she can do so.
As to Camacho compliance, Judge Fogel explained:
Section 1692g(a)(3) provides that: Within five days after the initial communication with a consumer in connection with the collection of any debt, a debt collector shall, unless the following information is contained in the initial communication or the consumer has paid the debt, send the consumer a written notice containing- (3) a statement that unless the consumer, within thirty days after receipt of the notice, disputes the validity of the debt, or any portion thereof, the debt will be assumed to be valid by the debt collector. 15 U.S.C. § 1692g(a)(3). Plaintiff argues that through its incorporation of the collection letter, her complaint alleges sufficiently that Defendants violated Section 1692g(a)(3). She relies on the Ninth Circuit’s opinion in Camacho v. Bridgeport Fin., Inc., 430 F.3d 1078 (9th Cir.2005). In that case, the defendant-debt collector’s letter to the plaintiff-debtor stated that “[u]nless you notify this office in writing within 30 days after receiving this notice that you dispute the validity of this debt or any portion thereof, this office will assume this debt is valid.” Camacho, 430 F.3d at 1079 (emphasis added by Ninth Circuit). The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court’s denial of the defendant’s motion to dismiss, concluding that the defendant’s notice violated Section 1692g “insofar as it stated that disputes must be made in writing” because the statute does not so require. Id. at 1082. Plaintiff contends that the same reasoning applies in this case because the following language in the collection letter she received is “nearly identical” to the language in Camacho: “Please be advised that if you notify my office in writing within 30 days that all or part of your obligations or judgment to FIRESIDE BANK is disputed, then I will mail you written verification of the obligation or judgment and the amounts owed to FIRESIDE BANK.” Compl. Ex. 1. ¶ However, Defendants argue that this language comports perfectly with the FDCPA. 15 U.S.C. Sec. 1692g(a)(4) authorizes a debt collector to require that the debtor dispute the debt in writing in order to request that the collector obtain a verification of the debt. 15 U.S.C. 1692g(a)(5) authorizes a debt collector to require that the debtor provide a written request for the name and address of the original creditor. This is the extent of the “in writing” requirement of the Collection Letter, and it is patently lawful under any reading of 15 U.S.C. Sections 1692g(a) (3), 1692e and 1692e(10), all of which Plaintiff claims this language violates. Defs.’ Reply 7. They contend that Camacho is inapposite because it only “prohibits debt collectors from requiring that the debtor dispute the debt in writing to challenge the validity of the debt” and “[n]othing in the language quoted [in Plaintiff’s opposition] even addresses Plaintiff’s right to challenge the validity of the debt, let alone requires that she do so in writing.” Id. (emphasis in original). Defendants point to other language in the collection letter stating that: “If [Defendants] do not hear from you within 30 days, [Defendants] will assume that your debt to FIRESIDE BANK is valid.” Compl. Ex. 1. Defendants argue that because this paragraph does not require Plaintiff to dispute the validity of the debt in writing, it does not violate the FDCPA.. . . Sections 1692g(a)(4) and 1692g(a)(5) provide that: Within five days after the initial communication with a consumer in connection with the collection of any debt, a debt collector shall, unless the following information is contained in the initial communication or the consumer has paid the debt, send the consumer a written notice containing- (4) a statement that if the consumer notifies the debt collector in writing within the thirty-day period that the debt, or any portion thereof, is disputed, the debt collector will obtain verification of the debt or a copy of a judgment against the consumer and a copy of such verification or judgment will be mailed to the consumer by the debt collector; and (5) a statement that, upon the consumer’s written request within the thirty-day period, the debt collector will provide the consumer with the name and address of the original creditor, if different from the current creditor. 15 U.S.C. 1692g(a)(4)-(5) (emphasis added). The paragraph in the collection letter that forms the basis of Plaintiff’s claim under Section 1692g(a)(3) in fact complies fully with these two provisions. Neither the cited language nor any other language in the collection letter is analogous to the offending language in Camacho.