United States District Court, S.D. West Virginia, Charleston Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
R. GOODWIN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
before the court is Plaintiff Waddell's Motion for Entry
of Default Judgment [ECF No. 8]. For the reasons that follow,
the Request is GRANTED. Damages are awarded
in amounts set forth below.
Wesley Waddell (“Waddell”), an individual and
resident of Fayette County, West Virginia, brought the
current action against Defendant Capital Accounts, LLC
(“Capital Accounts”), a foreign corporation with
its principal place of business in Franklin, Tennessee.
Waddell alleges violations of the Fair Debt Collection
Practices Act (“FDCPA”) and the West Virginia
Consumer Credit and Protection Act (“WVCCPA”) by
Capital Accounts. According to the complaint, a
dentist's office engaged Capital Accounts to collect an
alleged debt (“Alleged Debt”) from Waddell. The
Alleged Debt is not legitimate because Waddell does not owe
the dentist's office any amount. Compl. [ECF No. 1]
attempting to collect the illegitimate, Alleged Debt, Capital
Accounts called Waddell numerous times on his employer's
telephone line, including multiple times per day every day
for three weeks and, in some cases, calling multiple times in
a row within a matter of minutes. Id. at
¶¶ 8-11. Waddell told Capital Accounts the debt was
not valid and that he was not allowed to receive personal
calls on his work telephone line or during work hours, yet
they called at least twenty more times. Waddell Decl. [ECF
No. 8-1] ¶ 4. Further, Capital Accounts threatened to
talk to Waddell's employer about the Alleged Debt.
Id. at ¶ 12. Notably, Capital Accounts
“failed to disclose the name and full business address
of the person…to whom the Alleged Debt was owed”
in at least twenty calls. Id. at ¶ 11; Compl.
[ECF No. 1] ¶ 23.
Accounts made Waddell “feel harassed, abused and
oppressed.” Waddell Decl. [ECF No. 8-1] ¶¶
3-6. Waddell also suffered “fear, anxiety and mental
anguish” as a result of Capital Accounts' conduct.
Id. at ¶ 3. Waddell asks for $25, 000 in actual
damages based on Capital Accounts' conduct, $1, 000 in
statutory damages under the FDCPA, and $41, 000 in statutory
damages under the WVCCPA. Pl.'s Mot. For Entry of Default
J. [ECF No. 8] 5-6.
Accounts was served with the Summons and Complaint on
February 21, 2019. Aff. of Service [ECF No. 4]. To date,
Defendant has failed to appear or file a pleading responsive
to Plaintiff's Complaint. The Clerk entered default
against Defendant on March 29, 2019 [ECF No. 6]. Plaintiff
then filed a Motion for Entry of Default Judgment pursuant to
Rule 55(b)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
judgment is available “when the adversary process has
been halted because of an essentially unresponsive
party.” S.E.C. v. Lawbaugh, 359 F.Supp.2d 418,
421 (D. Md. 2005). Under Rule 55, which governs default
judgments, “trial judges are vested with discretion,
which must be liberally exercised, in entering [default]
judgments and in providing relief therefrom.”
United States v. Moradi, 673 F.2d 725, 727 (4th Cir.
1982). A defendant's failure to respond constitutes an
admission of the well-pleaded factual allegations in the
complaint, except as related to damages. Ryan v.
Homecomings Fin. Network, 253 F.3d 778, 780 (4th Cir.
2001). The court must make an independent determination of
damages where the amount of the Plaintiff's claim is
uncertain. Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(b).
Waddell has filed a declaration and a Motion for Entry of
Default Judgment, setting forth the amount due. Based on its
review of Waddell's Motion for Entry of Default Judgment
and Waddell's declaration, the court finds that a hearing
on this matter is unnecessary.
has alleged multiple violations of the FDCPA and WVCCPA. In
taking all the facts in the complaint as true, the court will
first assess the liability of Capital Accounts under each
claim. Next, the court will review the question of damages.
the purposes of the FDCPA is to “to eliminate abusive
debt collection practices by debt collectors.” 15
U.S.C. § 1692(e). “To prevail on a FDCPA claim, a
plaintiff must sufficiently allege that (1) he was the object
of collection activity arising from a consumer debt as
defined by the FDCPA, (2) the defendant is a debt collector
as defined by the FDCPA, and (3) the defendant engaged in an
act or omission prohibited by the FDCPA.” Woods v.
Oxford Law, LLC, No. CIV.A. 2:13-6467, 2015 WL 778778,
at *4 (S.D. W.Va. Feb. 24, 2015); see also Boosahda v.
Providence Dane LLC, 462 Fed.Appx. 331, 333 n.3 (4th
debt includes “an obligation or alleged obligation
‘to pay money arising out of a
transaction…primarily for personal, family, or
household purposes[.]'” 15 U.S.C. § 1692a.
Because the Alleged Debt here is for dental services, the
first element is met. Capital Accounts is a “debt
collector” because the complaint establishes that it is
a company using an “instrumentality of interstate
commerce, ” here a telephone, attempting to collect the
debts owed to another, here the dentist office. See
Id. As for the third element, Waddell has alleged
several actions by Capital Accounts in violation of the FDCPA
which are to follow.