In Gibbons v. Weltman, Weinberg, & Reis, Co., LPA, 2018 WL 5720749 (E.D. Pa. 2018), Judge Slomsky certified an FDCPA class over objections that the class size compared to the FDCPA’s class action cap could reduce the class members’ individual recovery to such an extent that class certification was not the superior method of adjudicating the mass action.
Based on Defendant’s net worth, it contends that class members “will recover significantly less than the statutory amount of damages provided for under 15 U.S.C. § 1692k(a)(2)(A), $1,000.00, than if they pursued individual claims.” (Doc. No. 41 at 23.) Courts facing this issue, however, generally hold that superiority is not destroyed unless Defendant’s net worth is negative. See Dell v. Nat’l Recovery Agency, 291 F. Supp. 3d 687, 704 (E.D. Pa. 2018) (collecting cases). Defendant has made no such contention here.Moreover, Rule 23(c) allows Rule 23(b)(3) class members to opt out of the class and bring their own claims. Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(c). Thus, in the event the class members here wish to pursue their own claims against Defendant, the class action device does not prevent them from doing so. Consequently, the first factor weighs in favor of superiority.Second, there is no evidence that any class member has already initiated litigation concerning this controversy. Third, it is desirable to concentrate the litigation of this claim in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Not only are the claims small and unlikely to be pursued individually absent certification, but the event that led to this litigation being filed – Plaintiff’s receipt of the letter – occurred in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. (Doc. No. 37-4 at 5.) Moreover, the class is confined to addresses located within the Third Circuit. Thus, it is likely that members of the class will reside in this district.