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Kaetz v. Chase Manhattan Bank

May 17, 2006

WILLIAM F. KAETZ, PLAINTIFF
v.
CHASE MANHATTAN BANK, USA, CHASE HOME FINANCE LLC., DEFENDANTS



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Munley

MEMORANDUM

Presently before the Court for disposition is Defendants Chase Manhattan Bank, USA and Chase Home Finance LLC's Joint Motion to Dismiss the Amended Complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) and 12(b)(7). This matter has been fully briefed and is ripe for disposition. For the following reasons, we will dismiss this case.

I. Background*fn1

Kaetz obtained a home equity line of credit from Chase Home Finance. On September 17, 2004, he wrote a $3,000 check from this line of credit to his business's account with First National Bank of Palmerton ("First National"). On October 29, 2004, Chase wrote him a letter explaining it did not pay the check to First National because his line of credit lacked sufficient funds. On November 22, 2004, Chase wrote another letter stating that the funds were paid out and debited from his account on September 22, 2004. First National, however, did not credit this amount to his business's account. After the dispute over this check, Chase Manhattan Bank USA raised his interests rates on a separate credit card account in retaliation.

On June 30, 2005, Kaetz requested that Chase validate his debts, but Chase never complied. After failing to validate the debt, Chase continued to contact Kaetz, threaten suit, and report the disputed debts to credit reporting agencies. In addition, after Kaetz filed this suit, Chase continued to threaten to collect a debt to influence his testimony in this case.

Kaetz alleges that Chase's actions violated the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act ("RICO"), 18 U.S.C. §1962(c), the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. §§ 1692-1692o ("FDCPA"), and the Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1681-- 1681x ("FCRA").

II. Jurisdiction

Since a federal question is before the Court for constitutional violations pursuant to the FDCPA, RICO, and the FCRA, this court has jurisdiction over this dispute pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331.

III. Standard

When a 12(b)(6) motion is filed, the sufficiency of a complaint's allegations are tested. The issue is whether the facts alleged in the complaint, if true, support a claim upon which relief can be granted. In deciding a 12(b)(6) motion, the court must accept as true all factual allegations in the complaint and give the pleader the benefit of all reasonable inferences that can fairly be drawn therefrom, and view them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Morse v. Lower Merion Sch. Dist., 132 F.3d 902, 906 (3d Cir. 1997). "A court should not dismiss a complaint under Rule 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim for relief 'unless it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claims which would entitle him to relief.'" Pryor v. National Collegiate Athletic Ass'n, 288 F.3d 548, 559 (3d Cir. 2002) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957)).

IV. Discussion

Chase argues that Kaetz failed to state a RICO, FDCPA, or FCRA claim. We will address each issue separately. For the following reasons, we find that the Amended Complaint fails to state any claim upon which relief may be granted, and we will dismiss the case.

A. FDCPA

Chase argues that Kaetz failed to state an FDCPA claim because he did not allege that Chase was a debt collector within the meaning of that statute. The FDCPA proscribes certain activity of 'debt collectors.' Heintz v. Jenkins, 514 U.S. 291, 292-92 (1995). Kaetz alleges that Chase violated 15 U.S.C. ยง 1962g, which applies to 'debt collectors,' not creditors. A debt collector is defined as: any person who uses any instrumentality of interstate commerce or the mails in any business the principal purpose of which is the collection of debts, or who regularly collects or ...


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