Simmonds & Narita, LLP

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Arizona federal district court refuses to certify FDCPA class comprised of delinquent homeowner association members filed against Simmonds & Narita law firm client

The U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona denied a plaintiff’s motion for class certification filed against Simmonds & Narita’s law firm client, and filed on behalf of a class of delinquent homeowner association members alleging violations of sections 1692e and 1692f of the FDCPA.  The law firm client obtained judgment for unpaid assessments against the plaintiff on behalf of the plaintiff’s homeowner association, and initiated garnishment proceedings.  Plaintiff alleged the firm sought unauthorized attorneys’ fees and costs.   

The court agreed with the law firm that class certification was not appropriate, because individualized issues as to whether the assessments qualified as a “debts” under the FDCPA predominated over common questions.  Plaintiff had not identified any reliable method for determining whether owners used their properties as rentals, or primarily for “personal, family or household purposes,” as required by the FDCPA.  In addition, the court agreed that the circumstances surrounding each garnishment proceeding would have to be examined to determine whether the class member had a viable claim.  For these same reasons, class treatment was also not the superior method for resolving the claims.



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