Pratt v. University Accounting Services LLC
A plaintiff whose claims are typical of only eight of approximately 61 putative class members may not be able to establish typicality, which is a requirement in order to obtain class certification. Allegedly, the plaintiff college student, Patricia Pratt, obtained a student loan that the defendant, University Accounting Services LLC, serviced. On Aug. 16, 2010, the defendant allegedly informed the plaintiff that unless she paid the loan within 90 days, the loan would be assigned to the federal Department of Education, which could garnish wages and intercept tax refunds, because the loan was severely delinquent and defaulted. Pratt filed a putative class action, on behalf of herself and similarly situated Connecticut citizens who received the same letter, alleging that the defendant violated the CCPA, the Connecticut Creditors Collection Practices Act, and CUTPA, the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act, and that the plaintiff suffered emotional distress. The plaintiff moved for class-action certification of a putative class of 61 individuals, and the defendant objected. To obtain class-action certification, a plaintiff must establish the elements of numerosity, commonality, typicality and adequacy of representation. The court found that the plaintiff failed to meet typicality requirements and to establish that the plaintiffs claims are typical of those of the entire class. The plaintiffs claims are typical of only eight other members of the putative class whose loans apparently were not in default, and whose account status, like that of Pratts, allegedly was misrepresented. [T]he plaintiffs CUTPA claim, wrote the court, is markedly different from the CUTPA claims that could be brought by the majority of the putative class because the ascertainable loss for which she seeks injunctive relief was suffered by only eight other putative class members. Also, the plaintiffs complaint did not allege that the CCPA violations resulted in harm that is common to the putative class. The issue of harm requires individualized proof. The court denied the plaintiffs motion for class certification.