In Wideman v. Monterey Financial Services, Inc., 2009 WL 1292830 (W.D.Pa. 2009), Magistrate Judge Hay held that an obtuse e-mail sent to a third party about a debtor could state a claim for third party disclosure violation under the FDCPA. In Wideman, the Plaintiff claimed that the debt collector violated § 1692c(b) when it left a message with the plaintiff’s her administrative assistant, which stated, “Call MCS at 877.775.3091 ex. 1032.” The debt collector moved to dismiss on the basis that the communication contained no information which would permit the third party to conclude that it concerned the collection of a debt. Magistrate Judge Hay disagreed.
The statute, however, defines “communication” as “the conveying of information regarding a debt directly or indirectly to any person through any medium.” 15 U.S.C. § 1692a(2). Thus, the fact that the word “debt” may not have been mentioned is not fatal to Wideman’s claim if information regarding Wideman’s debt was nevertheless indirectly conveyed to her administrative assistant. ¶ Here, it appears clear from the e-mail that MFS, in an effort to collect the debt owed by Wideman, made contact with a third party; that MFS left a message with the third party which was to be conveyed to Wideman; that the subject of MFS’s business with Wideman regarded “CASH CALL,” which is apparently the original creditor on the loan; that the information conveyed included who Wideman was to contact and a telephone number to call; and that the purpose of leaving the message was so that Wideman would return the call to discuss the debt. Moreover, the e-mail is categorized as “URGENT” and given “High” importance. See Complaint ¶ 10. ¶ Viewed in the light most favorable to Wideman, it can be inferred from these allegations that MFS indirectly conveyed information regarding Wideman’s debt to her administrative assistant. Indeed, the majority of courts that have addressed the issue have found that messages left with third parties like the one left with Wideman’s administrative assistant were communications under the FDCPA. See Edwards v. Niagra Credit Solutions, Inc., 586 F.Supp.2d 1346, 1350-51 (N.D.Ga.2008) (finding that the telephone message at issue, which referenced an “important” matter, contained information regarding a file number and whom to contact, and was left for the purpose of collecting the debt, indirectly conveyed information concerning the debt and, therefore, met the statutory definition of a “communication”); Thomas v. Consumer Adjustment Co. Inc., 579 F.Supp.2d 1290, 1296-97 (E.D.Mo.2008) (rejecting the defendant’s argument that the telephone call in question was not a “communication” under the FDCPA because no information regarding the debt was imparted); Ramirez v. Apex Financial Management, LLC, 567 F.Supp.2d 1035, 1041 (N.D.Ill.2008) (finding that the message was an indirect communication regarding the plaintiff’s debt where it conveyed pertinent information including the fact that there was a matter he should attend to and instructions on how to do so); Foti v. NCO Financial Systems, Inc., 424 F.Supp.2d 643, 654-60 (S.D.N.Y.2006) (holding that the telephone message advising the debtor that the matter required immediate attention and provided a specific telephone number to call to discuss the matter was a communication “given the obvious purpose of the message was to provide the debtor with enough information to entice a return call ….”); Hosseinzadeh v. M.R.S. Associates, Inc., 387 F.Supp.2d 1104, 1116 (C.D.Cal.2005) (finding that the messages left by the defendant constituted “communications” even though they did not technically mention specific information about the debt); West v. Nationwide Credit, Inc., 998 F.Supp. 642, 644-45 (W.D.N.C.1998) (finding that the defendant’s contact with a third party in relation to the plaintiff’s debt was a communication under § 1692a(2) and sufficient to state a claim under § 1692c(b) since it was not left for the purpose of obtaining location information which is the only communication with third parties permissible under the FDCPA); Belin v. Litton Loan Servicing, LP, 2006 WL 1992410 at *4 (M.D.Fla. July 14, 2006) (finding that the message was a communication under the FDCPA even though it was not disclosed that it came from a debt collector where the name of the company was referenced, directions to return the call were given, and the purpose of the message was to induce the debtor to return the call). But see Horkey v. J.V.D.B. & Associates, Inc.,179 F.Supp.2d 861, 868 (N.D.Ill.2002), aff’d, 333 F.3d 769 (7th 2003) (finding that there can be no liability under § 1692c(b) where there is no discussion of the debt); Biggs v. Credit Collections, Inc., 2007 WL 4034997 at *4 (W.D.Okla. Nov.15, 2007) (same). As such, plaintiff has set forth a plausible claim under § 1692c(b