In Devine v. The Judge Law Firm, No.: 16-CV-02999-AJB-MDD, 2017 WL 3118777 (S.D. Cal. July 21, 2017), the Court found that a creditor is not vicariously responsible for the actions of its attorney under the FDCPA if the credit is not itself subject to the FDCPA.
Presently, the Court is persuaded by the weight of authority limiting FDCPA liability to entities that fit the statutory definition of “debt collector.” Muhammad v. Reese Law Group, APC, Case No.: 16cv2513-MMA (BGS), 2017 WL 1520144, at *5 (S.D. Cal. Apr. 27, 2017). Thus, as Plaintiff has failed to plead that Stonecrest is a debt collector under the Rosenthal Act, he cannot establish that JLF and Stonecrest are vicariously liable. Additionally, the Court notes that vicarious liability for an attorney-client relationship is a principal-agent relationship as a matter of law. Bottoni v. Sallie Mae, Inc., No. C 10-03602 LB, 2011 WL 2293226, at *5 (N.D. Cal. June 8, 2011). Thus, as an agency relationship is generally a question of fact, agency arguments regarding a right to control are better suited to a motion for summary judgment than a motion to dismiss. See Dion LLC v. Infotek-Wireless, Inc., No. C07-1431 SBA, 2007 WL 3231838, at *4 (N.D. Cal. Oct. 30, 2007) (denying motion to dismiss vicarious liability claim where plaintiffs alleged agency relationship between parties without additional factual allegations). Accordingly, without more, Plaintiff has not established that Stonecrest is vicariously liable for JLF’s purported violations of the FDCPA.