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Galuska v. Collectors Training Institute of Illinois

May 13, 2008

JOHN GALUSKA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
COLLECTORS TRAINING INSTITUTE OF ILLINOIS, INC., DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: A. Richard Caputo United States District Judge

(JUDGE CAPUTO)

MEMORANDUM

Presently before the Court is Defendant Collectors Training Institute of Illinois, Inc.'s ("CTI") motion to dismiss the Complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). (Doc. 17.) For the reasons stated below, the Court will deny Defendant's motion to dismiss.

Because the action is brought pursuant to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act ("FDCPA"), 15 U.S.C. § 1692k(d), the Court has jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331 ("federal question").

BACKGROUND

The facts as alleged in Plaintiff's Complaint are as follows.

Plaintiff, John Galuska, resides in Duryea, Pennsylvania. (Compl. ¶ 4, Doc. 1.) Defendant, Collectors Training Institute of Illinois, Inc. (CTI), is a corporation doing business in Pennsylvania with a place of business in Chicago, Illinois. (Id. ¶ 5.)

On or before April 20, 2007, CTI began attempting to collect an alleged debt from the Plaintiff in connection with an account allegedly originating with Sears and assigned an account number ending in 0156. (Id. ¶ 7.) On April 20, 2007, CTI sent Plaintiff a letter in an effort to collect a debt. (Id. ¶ 8.) Plaintiff alleges that this April 20, 2007 letter is the only written communication from Defendant to Plaintiff regarding the debt. (Id. ¶ 10.) The letter includes language that states: "Unless you notify this office within thirty (30) days after the receipt of this notice that you dispute the validity of the debt, or any portion thereof, this debt will be assumed to be valid." (Id. ¶ 12) (emphasis added in Complaint). The Plaintiff alleges that this statement is false, deceptive, and misleading in violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1692. (Id. ¶¶ 13-17.)

On November 9, 2007, Plaintiff instituted this action by filing a Complaint and an application to procedure in forma pauperis. (Doc. 1.) On November 15, 2007, the Court entered an Order granting the Plaintiff in forma pauperis status, but sua sponte dismissed the action as frivolous pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(d). (Doc. 4.) On November 23, 2007, the Plaintiff filed a motion to alter the Order dismissing the action pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e). (Doc. 5.) The motion was granted by the Court on February 6, 2008, and the case was reinstated. (Doc. 16.) Defendant filed the present motion to dismiss on February 26, 2008. (Doc. 17.)

The motion is fully briefed and ripe for discussion.

LEGAL STANDARD

Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides for the dismissal of a complaint, in whole or in part, for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Dismissal is appropriate only if, accepting as true all the facts alleged in the complaint, Plaintiff has not plead "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face," Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. ----, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1960, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007), meaning, enough factual allegations "to raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of" each necessary element. Phillips v. County of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 234 (3d Cir. 2008); see also Kost v. Kozakiewicz, 1 F.3d 176, 183 (3d Cir. 1993) (requiring complaint to set forth information from which each element of a claim may be inferred). In light of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2), the statement need only "give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Erickson v. Pardus, --- U.S. ----, 127 S.Ct. 2197, 2200, 167 L.Ed.2d 1081 (2007) (per curiam). "[T]he factual detail in a complaint [must not be] so undeveloped that it does not provide a defendant the type of notice of claim which is contemplated by Rule 8." Phillips, 515 F.3d at 232; see also Airborne Beepers & Video, Inc. v. AT&T Mobility LLC, 499 F.3d 663, 667 (7th Cir. 2007).

In deciding a motion to dismiss, the Court should consider the allegations in the complaint, exhibits attached to the complaint and matters of public record. See Pension Benefit Guar. Corp. v. White Consol. Indus., Inc., 998 F.2d 1192, 1196 (3d Cir. 1993), cert. denied, 510 U.S. 1042 (1994). The Court may also consider "undisputedly authentic" documents where the plaintiff's claims are based on the documents and the defendant has attached a copy of the document to the motion to dismiss. Id. The Court need not assume that the plaintiff can prove facts that were not alleged in the complaint, see City of Pittsburgh v. West Penn Power Co., 147 F.3d 256, 263 (3d Cir. 1998), nor credit a complaint's "bald assertions" or "legal conclusions." Morse v. Lower Merion Sch. Dist., 132 F.3d 902, 906 (3d Cir. 1997).

When considering a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the Court's role is limited to determining whether the plaintiff is entitled to offer evidence in support of the claims. See Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236 (1974). The Court does not consider whether the plaintiff will ultimately prevail. See id. The defendant bears the burden of establishing that the plaintiff's complaint fails to state a claim ...


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