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Midland Funding LLC v. Raposo

Supreme Court of Rhode Island

December 17, 2019

Midland Funding LLC, assignee of Chase Bank USA, N.A.
v.
Tammy Turcotte Raposo.

          Kent County KD 18-58, KD 18-59 Superior Court Richard A. Licht Associate Justice.

          For Plaintiff: Kara Thorvaldsen, Esq. Paul G. Manning, Jr., Esq.

          For Defendant: Stephen A. Robinson, Esq.

          Present: Suttell, C.J., Goldberg, Flaherty, Robinson, and Indeglia, JJ.

          OPINION

          Paul A. Suttell Chief Justice.

         The defendant, Tammy Turcotte Raposo, appeals from the entry of two Superior Court judgments in favor of the plaintiff, Midland Funding, LLC (Midland), in these consolidated credit-card debt collection appeals. Raposo contends on appeal that the hearing justice erred in granting Midland's motions for summary judgment. This case came before the Supreme Court for oral argument pursuant to an order directing the parties to appear and show cause why the issue raised in this appeal should not be summarily decided. After a close review of the record and careful consideration of the parties' arguments, we shall decide the appeal at this time. For the reasons stated in this opinion, we affirm the judgments of the Superior Court.

         I

         Facts and Procedural History

         Midland filed two separate civil book-account actions in Third Division District Court alleging that Raposo owed Midland, as the assignee of Chase Bank USA, N.A., the unpaid balance due on two credit-card accounts. The first complaint sought to recover the sum of $2, 200.82 plus costs. Raposo answered the complaint with a letter in which she "den[ied] any and all statements set forth in [her] name" within Midland's complaint and stated she had "no recollection or knowledge of" the claims asserted against her. Midland filed a motion for summary judgment. Raposo did not file an objection to the motion. The District Court granted Midland's motion.

         The second complaint sought to recover the sum of $9, 705.78 from a different credit-card account in Raposo's name. Raposo answered in a letter which stated that she had "no knowledge of this complaint[.]" Midland filed a motion for summary judgment, to which Raposo again did not file an objection. The District Court granted Midland's motion.

         Raposo appealed to the Superior Court from the judgments in both cases. Midland filed a motion for summary judgment in each appeal, to which Raposo objected, attaching identical affidavits in which she stated that, "[t]o the best of [her] knowledge," she had never opened the accounts at issue or used the credit cards. Midland filed responses to Raposo's objections, including billing records that detailed purchases and payments made by Raposo on both accounts.

         The hearing justice consolidated the cases for argument. After reviewing the record and hearing arguments, the hearing justice found that Raposo's affidavit was not sufficient to create a genuine issue of material fact. The hearing justice reasoned that, without more than a "self-serving" statement that Raposo did not recall opening these accounts or using the credit cards, there was no basis upon which he could find an issue of fact as to the ownership of the accounts. Accordingly, the hearing justice granted summary judgment as to each of the two book-account claims, and final judgments were entered in favor of Midland for the full balance of each account plus costs. Raposo filed a timely notice of appeal from each judgment, and we consolidated the appeals before oral argument.

         II

         Standard ...


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