In Miranda v. Integrity Solution Services, Inc., 2014 WL 519239 (D.Colo. 2014), Magistrate Judge Mix ordered discovery of communications between the debt collector and consumer reporting agencies about the debtor’s debt even though no credit reporting allegations were pleaded. Judge Mix framed the issue as follows:
The discovery requests at issue seek information and documents that Defendant provided to the creditor and credit reporting bureaus about the debt. Plaintiff argues that the information is likely to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence about the frequency, persistence and nature of Defendant’s noncompliance with the statute. Defendant asserts that the information is not relevant, because “Plaintiff’s Complaint alleges that Defendant made false representations during the telephone conversation between the Defendant and Plaintiff on December 6, 2012.FN2 Any reference to other actions taken by Defendant on Plaintiff’s account including any credit reporting of Plaintiff’s account is irrelevant and not alleged.”
Magistrate Judge Mix ordered the discovery:
[S]ome courts have recognized that the breadth of the federal discovery rules trumps concerns about such “undirected rummaging through records.” After all, the United States Supreme Court has defined relevant information, for discovery purposes, to include “any matter that bears on, or that reasonably could lead to another matter that could bear on, any issue that is or may be in the case.” Hickman v. Taylor, 329 U.S. 495, 501 (1947) (emphasis added). By virtue of the language of the FDCPA, the issue of the frequency and persistence of a defendant’s noncompliance with the FDCPA is present in every FDCPA case.FN3 Moreover, certain courts have explicitly considered and rejected the “fishing expedition” argument in FDCPA cases. See, e.g., Patrick v. PHH Mortgage Corp., No. 3:12–cv–39, 2014 WL 296930 at *5 (N. D.W.Va. Jan. 27, 2014) (overruling Defendant’s objection to discovery ruling that disclosure of entire mortgage file in FDCPA case would result in a fishing expedition to find new instances of wrongdoing beyond the claims already alleged); Boutvis v. Risk Mgmt Alternatives. Inc., No. 301 CV1933 (DJS), 202 WL 971666 at *1 (D.Conn. May 3, 2002) (allowing plaintiff to discover documents concerning defendant’s practices under the FDCPA because subsequent practices were relevant to whether violations occurred after defendant had notice that its practices were actionable); Yancey v. Hooten, 180 F.R.D. 203, 208 (D.Conn.1998) (granting plaintiff’s motion to compel information about defendant’s conduct as to other debtors in FDCPA case because “defendant offers no support for his interpretation of 15 U.S.C. § 1692k as referring to the debt collector’s conduct toward a specific debtor, not to all debtors.”). ¶ Defendant offers no principled reason for limiting the meaning of section 1692k. If the language relating to the “frequency and persistence of defendant’s noncompliance” permits discovery into defendant’s conduct towards other debtors, as the Court held in Yancey, there is no reason to hold that a debtor cannot discover information about the debt collector’s other actions in collecting the very debt at issue in the Complaint.