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Hargis v. Equinox Collection Services, Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. Oklahoma

October 3, 2019

MICHAEL HARGIS, Plaintiff,
v.
EQUINOX COLLECTION SERVICES, INC., Defendant.

          OPINION & ORDER

          John E. Dowdell, Judge

         Before the Court is Plaintiff Michael Hargis's Motion for Class Certification (Doc. 19). Mr. Hargis brings this suit under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), which provides a private right of action against debt collectors that fail to comply with the statute. 15 U.S.C. § 1692k. He alleges that Defendant Equinox Collection Services, Inc., sent him a form collection letter lacking certain disclosures mandated under § 1692g of the Act. (See Doc. 2 at 5-7). Mr. Hargis seeks to certify a class consisting of Oklahoma residents who received similar collection letters from Equinox over the year preceding his filing of the complaint. For the reasons explained below, the Court finds that certification of such a class is appropriate.

         I. Legal Standards

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23 provides the test for class certification. It consists of two parts. The first part, Rule 23(a), requires a threshold showing that:

(1) the class is so numerous that joinder of all members is impracticable;
(2) there are questions of law or fact common to the class;
(3) the claims or defenses of the representative parties are typical of the claims or defenses of the class; and
(4) the representative parties will fairly and adequately protect the interests of the class.

         In the second part of the test, Rule 23(b), the plaintiff must show that class certification is justified for one of three reasons. Under Rule 23(b)(3), which Hargis invokes here, certification is proper only if the Court finds (i) that the questions of law or fact common to class members predominate over any questions affecting only individual members, and (ii) that a class action is superior to other available methods for fairly and efficiently adjudicating the controversy. Fed.R.Civ.P. 23(b)(3). Relevant factors regarding these findings include:

(A) the class members' interests in individually controlling the prosecution or defense of separate actions;
(B) the extent and nature of any litigation concerning the controversy already begun by or against class members;
(C) the desirability or undesirability of concentrating the litigation of the claims in the particular forum; and
(D) the likely difficulties in managing a ...

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