The opinion of the court was delivered by: Terrence F. McVerry United States District Court Judge
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER OF COURT
Presently before the Court is the MOTION TO DISMISS, with brief in support, filed by Defendant West View Savings Bank (Document Nos. 9 and 10), and PLAINTIFF'S BRIEF IN OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS, filed by Plaintiff Matthew Dragotta (Document No. 12).
On May 21, 2009, Plaintiff Matthew Dragotta ("Plaintiff") commenced this lawsuit by filing a Complaint (Doc. # 1) alleging Defendant failed to comply with the notification requirements of the Electronic Funds Transfer Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1693 et seq., ("EFTA" or "the Act"), required before a bank can impose a transaction fee for a customer's use of an automated teller machine ("ATM").
Defendant West View Savings Bank has filed a Motion to Dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), in which it contends that the Complaint fails to state a claim for which relief can be granted under the decisions of the United States Supreme Court in Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007) and Ashcroft v. Iqbal, --U.S.--, 129 S.Ct. 1937 (2009). In the alternative, Defendant has moved for summary judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56.
The issues have been fully briefed by the parties and the matter is ripe for disposition. After a careful consideration of the motion, the filings in support and opposition thereto, and the relevant case law, the Motion to Dismiss will be granted.
Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that a claim for relief must contain "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2). Rule 8 requires a showing, rather than a blanket assertion, of entitlement to relief, and " 'contemplates the statement of circumstances, occurrences, and events in support of the claim presented' and does not authorize a pleader's 'bare averment that he wants relief and is entitled to it.' " Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 n.3 (2007) (quoting 5 Wright & Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure § 1202, pp. 94, 95 (3d ed. 2004)). "Each allegation must be simple, concise, and direct." Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(d).
A motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure challenges the legal sufficiency of the complaint. The court must accept as true all well-pleaded facts and allegations, and must draw all reasonable inferences therefrom in favor of the plaintiff. However, as the United States Supreme Court made clear in Twombly, the "factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (citations omitted). Thus, "a plaintiff's obligation to provide the 'grounds' of his 'entitle[ment] to relief' requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do." Id.
Recently, the United States Supreme Court reaffirmed Twombly in Ashcroft v. Iqbal, --U.S.--, 129 S.Ct. 1937 (2009), and expressly extended the Twombly pleading standard to matters outside the realm of antitrust law. When a complaint contains well-pled factual allegations, "a court should assume their veracity and then determine whether they plausibly give rise to an entitlement to relief." Id. at 1950. However, a court is "not bound to accept as true a legal conclusion couched as a factual allegation." Id. Moreover, "threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice." Id. at 1949.
However, nothing in Twombly or Iqbal has changed other pleading standards for a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss. The United States Supreme Court did not impose a new heightened pleading requirement, but reaffirmed that Rule 8 requires only a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, not "detailed factual allegations." See Phillips v. County of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 231 (3d Cir. 2008) (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). Moreover, the United States Supreme Court did not abolish the Rule 12(b)(6) requirement that "the facts alleged must be taken as true and a complaint may not be dismissed merely because it appears unlikely that the plaintiff can prove those facts or will ultimately prevail on the merits." Phillips, 515 F.3d at 231 (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555-56, 563 n.8).
Generally, "to the extent that [a] court considers evidence beyond the complaint in deciding a 12(b)(6) motion, it is converted to a motion for summary judgment." Anjelino v. New York Times Co., 200 F.3d 73, 88 (3d Cir. 1999); Pension Benefit Guar. Corp. v. White Consol. Indus., 998 F.2d 1192, 1196 (3d Cir. 1993). However, courts are permitted to consider matters of public record, exhibits attached to the complaint, and undisputably authentic documents attached to the motion to dismiss without converting the motion to one for summary judgment. Delaware Nation v. Pennsylvania, 446 F.3d 410, 413 (3d Cir. 2006).
As the law requires, all disputed facts and inferences are resolved in favor of Plaintiff, the non-moving party. The following background is drawn from the Complaint and the factual allegations therein are accepted as true for the purpose of this Opinion. The facts underpinning Plaintiff's claim are straightforward and not contested. On or about May 18, 2009, Plaintiff made an electronic fund transfer at Defendant's ATM machine located at 20531 Perry Highway in Cranberry Township, PA. See generally, Complaint, Doc. # 1. At the time of the transaction, Plaintiff did not maintain an account with Defendant. Id. Plaintiff was charged a "terminal owner fee" of $2.00 for the transaction. At the time of the transaction, there was no notice posted "on or at" the Defendant's ATM to apprise consumers that a fee would be charged for the use of the ATM. Id.
For its part, Defendant argues that, notwithstanding the facts as alleged by Plaintiff, it is not subject to liability under the Act as a result of its good faith compliance with the EFTA. The issue before the Court is purely a question of law, to wit: does the Defendant's good faith compliance with the EFTA under the compliance examination procedures of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation ("FDIC") relieve Defendant of civil liability. The Court concludes that it does.
The federal government enacted the EFTA as part of the comprehensive Consumer Credit Protection Act (the "CCPA"), Pub.L. No. 95-630 § 2001, 92 Stat. 3641 (1978) (codified as amended at 15 U.S.C. § 1601 et seq.). The EFTA protects individual consumer rights by "provid[ing] a basic framework establishing the rights, liabilities, and responsibilities of participants in electronic fund transfer systems." 15 U.S.C. § 1693(b). One of the EFTA's provisions requires that operators of automated teller machines ("ATMs") provide notice of fees charged to consumers for use of the ...