In Gilbert v. TrueAccord, Case No. 21-cv-485, 2022 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 111328 (N.D. Ill. June 23, 2022), Judge Alonso granted partial summary judgment to a debt collector on the consumer’s claim that the debt collector violated her lawyers C&D demand by e-mailing on a debt after the lawyer had advised of the lawyer’s representation in connection with another debt.
Furthermore, the plain language of the statute is clear as to what the debt collector must know. Specifically, the debt collector cannot communicate with a consumer about a debt [*19] if the debt collector knows the consumer is represented “with respect to such debt.” 15 U.S.C. § 1692c(a)(2). Thus, based on that plain language, a plaintiff, in order to prevail on a claim under § 1692c(a)(2), must show the defendant knew plaintiff was represented with respect to the very debt about which defendant communicated with her. 15 U.S.C. § 1692c(a)(2). It is not enough for a plaintiff to show defendant knew she was represented with respect to a different debt or a different matter. See Graziano v. Harrison, 950 F.2d 107, 113 (3rd Cir. 1991) (defendant who knew plaintiff was represented by counsel with respect to one debt was not liable for communicating with plaintiff about two other debts), overruled on other grounds, Riccio v. Sentry Credit, Inc., 954 F.3d 582 (3rd Cir. 2020); Dore v. Five Lakes Agency, Inc., Case No. 14 cv 6515, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 88338, 2015 WL 4113203 at *4 (N.D. Ill. July 8, 2015) (“[Plaintiff] argues that [defendant]’s actual knowledge of her representation can be inferred because [defendant] possessed documents showing that she was represented by an attorney in her bankruptcy proceedings. But Section 1692c(a)(2) applies only where the debt collector knows the consumer is represented by an attorney with respect to the specific debt being collected.”). Here, plaintiff has put forth undisputed evidence that defendant knew plaintiff was represented with respect to a different debt. Specifically, plaintiff put forth evidence that, on January 21, 2021, her attorney forwarded to defendant a January 19, 2021 email attempting to collect a debt owned by Orion Portfolio Services II, LLC and told defendant that he represented plaintiff. Plaintiff has also put forth evidence that, after her attorney sent that email, defendant contacted her, on January 24, 2021, in an attempt to collect the debt owned by Pinnacle Credit Services, LLC. The debt that defendant was attempting to collect when it sent its January 24, 2021 email, however, was different from the debt it was attempting to collect in its January 19, 2021 email. Plaintiff has put forth no evidence that defendant knew, prior to the time defendant sent the January 24, 2021 email attempting to collect the Pinnacle Credit Services, LLC debt, that plaintiff was represented by counsel with respect to the Pinnacle Credit Services, LLC debt. Rather, the evidence is undisputed that it was later on January 24, 2021 that plaintiff’s counsel informed defendant that he represented plaintiff with respect to the Pinnacle Credit Services, LLC debt.
Accordingly, plaintiff has failed to put forth evidence from which a reasonable jury could conclude that defendant violated § 1692c(a)(2). Defendant’s motion for summary judgment [*21] is granted as to Count II.