ERC also argues that the FDCPA claim here depends on a material misrepresentation, and that “[w]hether any statements resulted in a material misstatement that actually affected the recipient’s decision-making is an issue that cannot be proved on a classwide basis.” [DE 54 at 4.] But claims under § 1692e use an objective “unsophisticated consumer” standard, under which “it is unimportant whether the individual that actually received a violative letter was misled or deceived.” Lox v. CDA, Ltd., 689 F.3d 818, 826 (7thCir. 2012). “[O]ur test for determining whether a debt collector violated § 1692e is objective, turning not on the question of what the debt collector knew but on whether the debt collector’s communication would deceive or mislead an unsophisticated, but reasonable, consumer.” Turner v. JV.D.B. & Assoc., 300 F.3d 991, 995 (7thCir. 2003). This objective analysis applies to the issue of materiality as well as to the deceptive character of the communication. Lox, 689 F.3d at 826 (materiality means the ability to influence a consumer’s decision); Afewerki v. Anaya Law Group, 868 F.3d 771, 776 (9thCir. 2017); Jensen v. Pressler & Pressler, 791 F.3d 413, 421 (3rd Cir. 2015); Elyazidi v.SunTrust Bank, 780 F.3d 227, 234 (4th Cir. 2015); Mikolajczyk v Universal Fidelity, LP, Case No. 16-CV-1382, 2017 WL 706301 at *4 (E.D.Wisc. Feb. 22, 2017); Bowse v. PortfolioRecovery Associates, LLC, 218 F.Supp.3d 745, 753 (N.D.Ill. 2016). The question will be not whether any particular plaintiff’s decision-making was influenced by the challenged text of the notice, but whether “a significant fraction of the population would be.” Pettitv. Retrieval Masters Creditor Bureau, Inc., 211 F.3d 1057, 1060 (7thCir. 2000). Further, as Johnson points out, I have already held, in ruling on ERC’s motion to dismiss, that “[i]f Johnson is correct about how the unsophisticated consumer would interpret ERC’s letter, the statements are certainly material.” [DE 17 at 14.]
On less substantive grounds, ERC challenges Johnson’s limitation of the class to “individuals in Indiana,” when her complaint made allegations on behalf of a putative class consisting of individuals in Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin. [DE 54 at 19; DE 53 at 2; DE 1 at ¶29.] ERC complains that Johnson now limits the geographic scope of the class without any explanation for the change. Plaintiff replies that statewide classes are often certified where a larger class would make recovery even more de minimis. [DE 57 at 16-17.] The “broadest possible class” is not required. Mace v. Van Ru Credit Corp., 109 F.3d 338, 341 (7thCir. 1997). To the contrary, the class requirements of Rule 23 “encourage rather specific and limited classes.” Id. “Furthermore, there is no provision that limits defendants being exposed to more than one FDCPA class action lawsuit.” Sanders v. Jackson, 209 F.3d 998, 1002 (7th Cir. 2000). The statewide scope of the class is perfectly acceptable.