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Portfolio Recovery Associates, LLC. v. MacDonald

Supreme Court of Idaho

June 1, 2017

PORTFOLIO RECOVERY ASSOCIATES, LLC., Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
LLOYD MACDONALD, Defendant-Appellant.

         2017 Opinion No. 57

          Appeal from the District Court of the Seventh Judicial District of the State of Idaho, Bonneville County. Hon. Jon J. Shindurling, District Judge.

         The decision of the district court is reversed and remanded.

          Ballard Law, PLLC, Rexburg, for appellant.

          Johnson Mark, LLC, Meridian, for respondent.

          ON THE BRIEFS

          BRODY, Justice.

         This is a debt collection matter. Plaintiff Portfolio Recovery Associates, LLC ("PRA") sued Defendant Lloyd MacDonald for the amount owed on a Citibank credit card account. MacDonald filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that PRA did not have standing to bring this action because it could not prove that the debt had been assigned by Citibank to PRA. PRA filed a cross-motion for summary judgment. MacDonald objected to the evidence PRA submitted to support its position, arguing that the evidence was inadmissible hearsay and lacked adequate foundation. The magistrate court overruled MacDonald's objections and granted summary judgment in favor of PRA. MacDonald appealed to the district court. The district court affirmed the magistrate court's decision. We reverse.

         I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

          PRA purchases charged-off credit card accounts and then attempts to collect the debts. PRA claims to own a Citibank credit card account for Lloyd MacDonald. PRA sued MacDonald in magistrate court alleging he failed to pay $3, 776.29 owed on the account. MacDonald filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that PRA did not have standing to bring the suit because PRA could not prove that the account had been assigned to it. PRA filed an objection to MacDonald's motion and a cross-motion for summary judgment. PRA attached the following exhibits to its objection and cross-motion:

Exhibit 1 Affidavit of Chad Robertson, a Citibank Document Control Officer ("Robertson Affidavit"). No exhibits are attached to the affidavit itself.
Exhibit 2 Affidavit of Sale of Account by Original Creditor signed by Patricia Hall, a Citibank Financial Account Manager, dated July 16, 2013 ("Hall Affidavit").
Exhibit 3 Bill of Sale and Assignment from Citibank to PRA
Exhibit 4 Missing (it is not part of the Clerk's Record and is not part of the record below).
Exhibit 5 Sears credit card statements in MacDonald's name.

         MacDonald objected to the consideration of these exhibits, arguing that they are inadmissible hearsay and that the statements contained in the Robertson Affidavit lack foundation. The magistrate court overruled MacDonald's evidentiary objections and granted summary judgment in favor of PRA. MacDonald appealed the magistrate court's decision to the district court. The district court, sitting as an intermediate appellate court, affirmed the magistrate court's decision. MacDonald appeals the district court's decision, arguing that the Robertson Affidavit and credit card statements are inadmissible and should not have been considered when deciding the parties' cross-motions for summary judgment.

         II.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         When reviewing the decision of a district court sitting in its capacity as an appellate court

[t]he Supreme Court reviews the trial court (magistrate) record to determine whether there is substantial and competent evidence to support the magistrate's findings of fact and whether the magistrate's conclusions of law follow from those findings. If those findings are so supported and the conclusions follow therefrom and if the district court affirmed the magistrate's decision, we affirm the district court's decision as a matter of procedure.

Bailey v. Bailey, 153 Idaho 526, 529, 284 P.3d 970, 973 (2012) (quoting Losser v. Bradstreet, 145 Idaho 670, 672, 183 P.3d 758, 760 (2008)). "Thus, this Court does not review the decision of the magistrate court." Pelayo v. Pelayo, 154 Idaho 855, 859, 303 P.3d 214, 218 (2013). "Rather, we are 'procedurally bound to affirm or reverse the decisions of the district court.'" Id. (quoting State ...


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