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PIOTROWSKI v. FEDERMAN AND PHELAN

November 22, 2005.

THEODORE WALTER PIOTROWSKI, JR., et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
FEDERMAN AND PHELAN, LLP, et al., Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: SYLVIA RAMBO, Senior District Judge

MEMORANDUM

Before the court is Defendants' Motion to Dismiss Plaintiffs' Complaint Pursuant to F.R.C.P. 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6) (Doc. 5). The parties have briefed the issues and the matter is ripe for disposition. For the reasons that follow, the court will grant Defendants' motion.

I. Background

  This case arises out of a state foreclosure action. Plaintiffs Theodore W. Piotrowski, Jr. and Wanda Sue Piotrowski ("the Piotrowskis") allege that Defendants violated provisions of The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act ("FDCPA"), The Fair Credit Reporting Act ("FCRA"), the Pennsylvania Fair Credit Extension Uniformity Act ("FCEUA"), and the Pennsylvania Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law ("UTPCPL") when they commenced a mortgage foreclosure action against Plaintiffs in October 2003 in the York County Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas. In the state Complaint in Mortgage Foreclosure, Defendants (then Plaintiffs) identified RBMG, Inc. ("RBMG") as the legal owner of the mortgage for Plaintiffs' (then Defendants) property located at 3686 Sorrel Ridge Lane, York, PA 17402 ("the property"), stating that RBMG was in the process of formalizing the assignment of the mortgage for the property. The parties dispute various issues regarding the assignment and whether RBMG was in fact the owner of the mortgage.

  In addition, the parties appear to dispute whether Defendants properly effected service of their motion for summary judgment in the state court. The Piotrowskis did not file a response to the motion. The state court granted the motion for summary judgment on August 31, 2004, and entered judgment in favor of RBMG for $69,324.90 plus interest and costs.

  The disputes over RBMG's status as mortgagor and service of the summary judgment motion form the basis of Plaintiffs' allegations that the state court action was improper, fraudulent, and illegal.

  Plaintiffs filed this action, pro se, on July 20, 2005. However, Plaintiffs subsequently obtained counsel, through which they filed a response to the instant Motion to Dismiss on October 6, 2005. Defendants filed the instant Motion to Dismiss on September 12, 2005.

  II. Legal Standard

  A. Motion to Dismiss Pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1)

  "`A motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(1) challenges the jurisdiction of the court to address the merits of the plaintiff's complaint.'" Vieth v. Pennsylvania, 188 F. Supp. 2d 532, 537 (M.D. Pa. 2002) (quoting Ballenger v. Applied Digital Solutions, Inc., 189 F. Supp. 2d 196, 199 (D. Del. 2002)). The motion should be granted where the asserted claim is "insubstantial, implausible, foreclosed by prior decisions of this Court, or otherwise completely devoid of merit as not to involve a federal controversy." Coxson v. Pennsylvania, 935 F. Supp. 624, 626 (W.D. Pa. 1996) (citing Growth Horizons v. Delaware County, 983 F.2d 1277, 1280-81 (3d Cir. 1993)).

  A motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(1) may present either a facial or factual challenge to subject matter jurisdiction. See Carpet Group Int'l v. Oriental Rug Imps. Ass'n, 227 F.3d 62, 69 (3d Cir. 2000). This case presents a facial challenge to subject matter jurisdiction because Defendants do not dispute, at this juncture, the relevant jurisdictional facts alleged in the complaint. See 2 James Wm. Moore et al., Moore's Federal Practice — Civil ¶ 12.30[4] (3d ed. 1999) (explaining the difference between a facial and factual challenge to subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1)). Therefore, the court must accept the facts alleged in the complaint as true and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff. Zinermon v. Burch, 494 U.S. 113, 118 (1990); Gould Elecs. Inc. v. United States, 220 F.3d 169, 176 (3d Cir. 2000).

  B. Motion to Dismiss Pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6)

  In deciding a motion to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule 12(b)(6), the court is required to accept as true all of the factual allegations in the complaint and all reasonable inferences that can be drawn from the face of the complaint. Worldcom, Inc. v. Graphnet, Inc., 343 F.3d 651, 653 (3d Cir. 2003). "The complaint will be deemed to have alleged sufficient facts if it adequately put[s] the defendant[s] on notice of the essential elements of the plaintiff's cause of action." Nami v. Fauver, 82 F.3d 63, 65 (3d Cir. 1996). The court will not dismiss a complaint for failure to state a claim "unless it appears beyond a doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim that would entitle him to relief." Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957); Port Auth. of New York & New Jersey v. Arcadian Corp., 189 F.3d 305, 311 (3d Cir. 1999). In the case of a pro se plaintiff, the court should construe the complaint liberally and draw fair inferences from what is not alleged as well as for what is alleged. Dluhos v. Strasberg, 321 F.3d 365, 369 (3d Cir. 2003); Youse v. Carlucci, 867 F. Supp. 317, 318 (E.D. Pa. 1994).

  "To decide a motion to dismiss, courts generally consider only the allegations contained in the complaint, exhibits attached to the complaint and matters of public record." Pension Benefit Guar. Corp. v. White Consol. Indus., 998 F.2d 1192, 1196 (3d Cir. 1993) (citations omitted). The court may consider "undisputedly authentic document[s] that a defendant attaches as an exhibit to a motion to dismiss if the plaintiff's claims are based on the [attached] document[s]." Id. Additionally, "documents whose contents are alleged in the complaint and whose authenticity no party questions, but which are not physically attached to the pleading may be considered." Pryor v. Nat'l Collegiate Athletic Ass'n, 288 F.3d 548, 560 (3d Cir. 2002); see also U.S. Express Lines, Ltd. v. Higgins, 281 F.3d 383, 388 (3d Cir. 2002) ("Although a district court may not consider matters extraneous to the pleadings, a document integral to or explicitly relied upon in the complaint may be considered without converting ...


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