United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Charlottesville Division
Glen E. Conrad Senior United States District Judge.
case is presently before the court on plaintiff Kevin
Rogers' motion for default judgment. For the reasons set
forth below, the motion will be granted.
September 22, 2017, Rogers filed this action against Summit
Receivables, a debt collection agency, alleging violations of
the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act ("FDCPA"),
15 U.S.C. §§ 1692-1692p. On September 27, 2017, a
private process server personally delivered copies of the
summons and complaint to an agent authorized by law to
receive service of process on behalf of Summit Receivables.
See Proof of Service, Docket No. 4. Accordingly,
service was proper under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
being properly served, Summit Receivables failed to answer or
otherwise defend the action within the time period permitted
by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. On October 24, 2017,
the Clerk entered default against the defendant. Summit
Receivables has not moved to set aside the entry of default,
or otherwise appeared in any manner in the case. Rogers has
now moved for default judgment, and the matter is ripe for
of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure establishes a
two-step process for obtaining a default judgment.
Jefferson v. Briner. Inc., 461 F.Supp.2d 430, 433
(E.D. Va. 2006). First, "the [C]lerk must enter the
party's default." Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(a). Second, a
party may move the court for default judgment under Rule
reviewing a motion for default judgment, the court views all
well-pleaded factual allegations in the complaint as true for
purposes of liability. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(b)(6)
("An allegation-other than one relating to the amount of
damages-is admitted if a responsive pleading is required and
the allegation is not denied."); see also Ryan v.
Homecomings Fin-Network, 253 F.3d 778, 780 (4th Cir.
2001) ("[T]he defendant, by his default, admits
plaintiffs well-pleaded allegations of fact.") (internal
citation omitted). Consequently, in the default judgment
context, the "appropriate inquiry is whether or not the
face of the pleadings supports the default judgment and the
causes of action therein." Anderson v. Found, for
Advancement, Educ. &Emp't of Am. Indians. 187
F.3d 628, 1999 U.S. App. LEXIS 18633, at *2 (4th Cir. Aug.
10, 1999) (unpublished table opinion).
facts alleged in the complaint establish liability, then the
court must determine the appropriate amount of damages.
Ryan, 253 F.3d at 780-81. The court may make a
determination as to the amount of damages without a hearing
if the record contains sufficient evidence to support the
award. See Anderson v. Found, for Advancement, Educ.
& Emp't of Am. Indians, 155 F.3d 500, 507 (4th
Cir. 1998) (noting that "in some circumstances a
district court entering a default judgment may award damages
ascertainable from the pleadings without holding a
hearing"); Ortiz-Gonzalez v. Fonovisa, 277 F.3d
59, 63-64 (1st Cir. 2002) (concluding that an award of
statutory damages without a hearing was within the district
court's wide discretion).
Liability under the FDCPA
FDCPA was enacted to protect consumers from abusive and
deceptive practices by debt collectors, and to protect
non-abusive debt collectors from competitive disadvantage.
United States v. Nafl Fin. Servs.. Inc.. 98 F.3d
131, 135 (4th Cir. 1996). It is "a strict liability
statute that prohibits false or deceptive representations in
collecting a debt, as well as certain abusive debt collection
practices." McLean v. Ray, 488 Fed.Appx. 677,
682 (4th Cir. 2012). In order to establish a violation of the
FDCPA, the plaintiff must prove: (1) that the defendant is a
"debt collector" as defined by the FDCPA; (2) that
the plaintiff has been the object of collection activity
arising from a consumer debt; and (3) that the defendant has
engaged in an action or omission prohibited by the FDCPA.
Ruggia v. Wash. Mut. 719 F.Supp.2d 642, 647 (E.D.
Va. 2010). "Because the FDCPA is a strict liability
statute, a consumer need only prove one violation to trigger
liability." Grant-Fletcher v. McMullen & Drury,
P.A., 964 F.Supp.2d 514, 521 (D. Md.2013).
to the complaint, Summit Receivables "regularly
collects, or attempts to collect, debts allegedly owed to
third parties, " Compl. ¶ 14, Docket No. 1, and is
therefore a "debt collector" for purposes of the
FDCPA. See 15 U.S.C. § 1692a(6). In July of 2017, Summit
Receivables began attempting to collect an
"alleged" consumer debt that Rogers originally owed
to Mobiloans. Compl. ¶¶ 16-18. Summit Receivables
called Rogers' cellular telephone number on multiple
occasions as part of its efforts to collect the alleged debt.
On more than one occasion, Rogers spoke with one the
defendant's representatives. During at least one of the
conversations, Rogers requested that Summit Receivables
provide written documentation to verify the alleged debt.
However, Summit Receivables refused to provide the requested
Receivables also left voicemail messages on Rogers'
cellular telephone number. At least one of the messages
described Rogers' conduct as "malicious."
Id. ¶ 22 (internal quotation marks omitted). At
least one of the messages "threatened that [d]efendant