In Campbell v. Douglas Knights & Assocs., No. 21-cv-01667-JCS, 2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 84499, at *14-16 (N.D. Cal. May 3, 2021), Judge Spero dismissed and FDCPA because it did not arise from a “debt”.
Here, the letters attached to the Complaint indicates that Douglas, Knight & Associates is an insurance subrogation agent seeking to collect on behalf of an insurance company for an uninsured loss that was paid out by its client. There is no allegation suggesting that the amount it seeks to collect from Plaintiff arises out of a consumer “transaction” as is required under the FDCPA. Rather, the letters Plaintiff attached to his Complaint indicate that Plaintiff owes this money as the result of a tort, which courts have held does not satisfy the “transaction” requirement of the FDCPA. See Hawthorne v. Mac Adjustment, Inc., 140 F.3d 1367, 1371 (11th Cir.1998) (holding that “debt” under the FDCPA is limited to liability arising out of consensual, consumer transactions, and not tortious activity); Fleming v. Pickard, 581 F.3d 922, 926 (9th Cir. 2009) (citing Hawthorn’s holding with approval). In Hawthorn, for example, the plaintiff sought to assert FDCPA claims against a subrogation agent based on its efforts to collect from the plaintiff an insurance payout that had been made to a third party, where the plaintiff had been in an accident with the third party and was uninsured. 140 F.3d at 1369. The Court dismissed the plaintiff’s claims, finding that the defendant (Mac Adjustment) was not seeking to collect a “debt” within the meaning of the FDCPA, reasoning as follows: [A]t a minimum, a “transaction” under the FDCPA must involve some kind of business dealing or other consensual obligation. Because Hawthorne’s alleged obligation to pay Mac Adjustment for damages arising out of an accident does not arise out of any consensual or business dealing, plainly it does not constitute a “transaction” under the FDCPA. Moreover, the fact that Mac Adjustment may have entered into a contract with the insurer for subrogation rights does not change the fact that no contract, business, or consensual arrangement between Hawthorne and the damaged party, its insurer, or Mac Adjustment exists. Consequently, the FDCPA does not apply because this is not a transaction. 140 F.3d at 1371. Therefore, the Court concludes that Plaintiff has not alleged facts showing that any of the named Defendants was engaged in the collection of a “debt” and that all of Plaintiff’s FDCPA claims fail for that reason. Plaintiff’s FDCPA claims are also defective in a number of additional respects, as set forth below.