California state court grants summary judgment for debt buyer client of Simmonds & Narita
The Los Angeles County Superior Court granted a motion for summary judgment for Simmonds & Narita’s debt buyer client, rejecting Plaintiff’s Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act claims arising out of the filing of a state-court lawsuit by the debt buyer seeking to recover Plaintiff’s unpaid credit card obligation. Plaintiff contended that the debt buyer submitted an improper declaration in lieu of testimony, under section 98 of the California Code of Civil Procedure, in the collection action. In addition to concluding the Plaintiff’s claims were barred by the statute of limitations and that Plaintiff had failed to present evidence sufficient to establish the obligation at issue was a “consumer debt” subject to the Rosenthal Act, the Court rejected Plaintiff’s interpretation of section 98. Specifically, the Court agreed with Simmonds & Narita’s client that the plain language of section 98 did not require the declarant to be physically located at the address designated in the section 98 declaration, nor did the statute require the declarant to be available for personal service of a subpoena. Finally, the Court determined that Plaintiff had failed to show there was anything materially misleading about the section 98 declaration.