Similarly, there is no authority supporting defendants’ contention that Matthias must show that each putative class members’ debt is a “consumer” debt subject to the FDCPA, thereby requiring a series of “mini trials.” “[T]he need to show that the transactions involved in a particular case are consumer transactions is inherent in every FDCPA class action. If that need alone precluded certification, there would be no class actions under the FDCPA.” Wilborn v. Dun & Bradstreet Corp., 180 F.R.D. 347, 357 (N.D. Ill. 1998). Moreover, Matthias has clarified that during discovery, he asked defendants for the number of consumer debts that defendants sought to collect using the same collection letter that he received. As Matthias suggests, if defendants are concerned about whether all of the putative class members will be consumers, the class definition can be revised to specify consumer debts. Accordingly, I find that it will be possible for the court or jury to resolve the central issue in this case across the class rather than through individualized determinations.
In Matthias v. Tate & Kirlin Assocs., No. 19-cv-182-slc, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 63894, at *8-9 (W.D. Wis. Apr. 13, 2020), Judge Crocker was unpersuaded that individual questions of commercial versus consumer debt could defeat class certification in an FDCPA dunning letter class action.