In Mitchell v. LVNV Funding, LLC, 2015 WL 7016343, at *10-11 (N.D.Ind.,2015), Judge Springmann rejected an FDCPA defendant’s argument that the FDCPA’s $500,000 penalty cap and resulting de-minimus class recovery rendered the class action device an inferior means to adjudicate a mass-action.
Despite these limits, the Defendants assert that a class action is not superior because recovery is de minimis where a debt collector’s net worth is low or negative. The Defendants argue that LVNV and Resurgent can only be vicariously liable, if at all, for the conduct of the debt collectors who sent the letters. Thus, the class would only be entitled to 1% of CMS’s or any other debt collector’s net worth, which is an unknown number. See 15 U.S.C. § 1692k(a)(2)(B) (restricting recovery in class actions to lesser of $500,000 or 1 per centum of the debt collector’s net worth). The Defendants contend that without this information, the Court cannot make the appropriate analysis regarding the potential recovery. The Court finds that the actual net worth of the relevant entities is a matter for trial, should the claims proceed to the damages phase. Even if the recovery is de minimis, there is value in allowing class treatment here to address potentially unlawful behavior that would not otherwise be addressed because the barriers to bringing suit are too high. Cf. Mace v. Van Ru Credit Corp., 109 F.3d 338, 344 (7th Cir.1997) (discussing the purpose of class actions in contexts such as these where the recovery of each plaintiff may be low). “[I]f class actions can be said to have a main point, it is to allow the aggregation of many small claims that would otherwise not be worth bringing, and thus to help deter lawless defendants from committing piecemeal highway robbery, a nickel here and a nickel there, that adds up to real money, but which would not be worth the while of an individual plaintiff to sue on.” Miller v. McCalla, 198 F.R.D. 503, 506 (N.D.Ill.2001). While individual actions pursuant to the FDCPA have the potential for higher individual recoveries, this is only true under the assumption that each putative class member is aware of his or her rights, and willing to subject himself or herself to all the burdens of suing. Additionally, “the desirability … of concentrating the litigation of the claims in the particular forum” favors predominance, Fed.R.Civ.P. 23(b)(3)(C), as the question regarding whether the letter violates the FDCPA should be decided only once, not through hundreds or thousands of individual suits. The Northern District of Indiana is as appropriate a forum as any given that many of the consumers reside in Indiana. Finally, “the likely difficulties in managing a class action” in this case do not warrant against certification, Fed.R.Civ.P. 23(b)(3)(D), as any such difficulties are outweighed by the advantages of concentrating this litigation. For example, it would be inefficient to conduct parallel litigation for each class member, which would entail the same discovery and require multiple courts to weigh the same factual and legal grounds for recovery. Finally, the parties have not presented any grounds upon which to find that “the extent and nature of any litigation concerning the controversy already begun by or against class members,” Fed.R.Civ.P. 23(b)(3)(B), should preclude class certification. Although another class action is pending in Illinois, McMahon v. LVNV Funding, LLC, 1:12–CV–1410, Illinois residents who fall within the revised class definitions in that case are specifically excluded from the requested class in this case. See Second Am. Compl. ¶ 52.