Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Usry v. Equity Experts.Org, LLC

United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Augusta Division

February 16, 2018

SARAH USRY and DANIEL DARNELL, on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
v.
EQUITY EXPERTS.ORG, LLC d/b/a EQUITY EXPERTS, Defendant.

          ORDER

          J. RANDAL HALL, CHIEF JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

         Before the Court is Plaintiffs' Motion for Class Certification and Supporting Memorandum of Law. (Doc. 77.)[1] Plaintiffs allege that Defendant violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act ("FDCPA"), 15 U.S.C. § 1692, and the Georgia usury statute, O.C.G.A. § 7-4-2, when it sought to collect delinquent assessments on behalf of Georgia homeowners' associations. Because the Court finds that Plaintiffs' proposed class is a fail-safe class, the Court DENIES WITHOUT PREJUDICE Plaintiffs' motion and grants Plaintiffs leave to file a new motion for class certification within THIRTY (30) DAYS from the date of this Order.

         I. Background

         The named Plaintiffs are Georgia homeowners belonging to the Ashbrooke Property Owners Association ("Ashbrooke"). (Doc. 77, at 6-9.) From the years 2012-2015, Ashbrooke charged its members an annual assessment of $115. (Id. at 9.) During this time period, Plaintiffs Usry and Darnell failed to pay one or more of their annual assessments. (Id. at 9-11.) Due to these failures, Defendant began collection efforts against them on Ashbrooke's behalf. These collection efforts sparked the present lawsuit.

         The covenant which governs the Ashbrooke subdivision authorizes Ashbrooke to impose a number of penalties against homeowners who fail to pay an annual or special assessment. (Doc. 77-1, at 5.) Ashbrooke may: (1) charge interest on the assessment "at the rate of eighteen percent (18%) per annum or the highest rate permitted by law"; (2) impose "a reasonable late charge"; (3) add interest and late charges to "the annual assessment to which [each] [l]ot is subject"; (4) "foreclose the lien of the delinquent assessment against the [l]ot"; (5) "bring an action at law against the [o]wner personally obligated to pay the delinquent assessments"; (6) and assess the homeowner for "all costs and attorney's fees which [Ashbrooke] shall incur" pursuing any foreclosure or action at law. (Id. at 8.)

         Consistent with its enforcement abilities, Ashbrook contracted with Defendant in June 2013 to collect delinquent assessments. (Doc. 77-3, at 1.) The contract states that Defendant was "authorized on behalf of [Ashbrooke], and pursuant to Limited Powers of Attorney, to collect the delinquent assessments from the responsible party, plus any and all costs of collection charged by [Defendant], as outlined in [Defendant's] standard fee structure addendum which is updated and distributed semi-annually." (Id.) The contract cited in the record does not include the fee structure used at the time of signing.

         Ms. Usry failed to timely pay her 2013 annual assessment. On June 28, 2013, she received her first letter from Defendant. (Doc. 77-4, at 599.) The letter informed Ms. Usry that Defendant was seeking to collect her delinquent assessment on behalf of Ashbrooke. (Id.) The letter then informed her that her current balance was $443.65, but that if she did not pay within thirty days her balance would be "at least $838.65." (Id.) Over the next six months Defendant assessed the following fees against Ms. Usry:

Account Setup Fee $175.00
Intent to Record Lien Package $95.00
Lien Recording and Discharge Package $395.00
Constant Contact Service Package $750.00
Pre-Foreclosure Package $1, 4 95.00

         By December 2013, Ms. Usry "owed" Defendant a sum of $3, 083.65. (Id. at 618.) In December 2014, Defendant sent Ms. Usry a letter stating her current balance was $3, 199.60, but that if she did not pay within ten days, her balance "may be at least $6, 644.60." (Id. at 600.)

         Mr. Darnell suffered a similar experience. Mr. Darnell also failed to timely pay the 2013 annual assessment of $115.00. (Doc. 35, at 5.) He settled his account with ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.