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Hector L. Huertas v. Galaxy Asset Management

April 11, 2011

HECTOR L. HUERTAS, APPELLANT
v.
GALAXY ASSET MANAGEMENT, F/K/A GALAXY ASSET PURCHASING; CAPITAL MANAGEMENT SERVICES, L.P.; ASSET MANAGEMENT PROFESSIONALS, LLC; EXPERIAN INFORMATION SOLUTIONS; TRANSUNION, LLC; APPLIED CARD BANK, F/K/A CROSS COUNTRY BANK



On Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey (D.C. Civil Action No. 09-cv-02604) District Judge: Honorable Robert B. Kugler

Per curiam.

PRECEDENTIAL

Submitted Pursuant to Third Circuit LAR 34.1(a)

April 1, 2011

Before: BARRY, JORDAN and GARTH, Circuit Judges

OPINION OF THE COURT

Hector Huertas appeals pro se from the District Court‟s dismissal of his claims against Asset Management Professionals ("AMP") and Applied Card Bank f/k/a Cross Country Bank ("ACB").*fn1 For the following reasons, we will affirm.

I.

In addition to AMP and ACB, Huertas brought this lawsuit against four other defendants -- Galaxy Asset Management f/k/a Galaxy Asset purchasing ("Galaxy"); Capital Management Services, L.P.; Experian Information Solutions; and TransUnion, LLC. Huertas incurred credit card debt owed to ACB, which sold the debt obligation to Galaxy, which ultimately retained AMP to collect on the debt. Huertas‟s claims are primarily based upon ACB‟s transfer of, and AMP‟s attempts to collect, a "false" debt, i.e., a debt upon which the six-year statute of limitations had run under New Jersey law.*fn2 Specifically, Huertas alleged that AMP violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act ("FDCPA") by sending him a letter in February 2009 in an attempt to collect on the time-barred debt, and violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act ("FCRA") by acquiring his credit information from TransUnion in connection with its improper debt collection efforts. Huertas also alleged that both ACB and AMP breached their duties of good faith and fair dealing, violated the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act ("NJCFA"), N.J. Stat. Ann. §§ 56:8-1 to -20, and violated the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act ("RICO"), 18 U.S.C. §§ 1961-1968.

AMP and ACB moved to dismiss the claims against them, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), for failure to state a claim. Huertas responded with a "Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings and for Sanctions In Response to Defendant‟s Applied Bank and Asset Management Professionals Motions to Dismiss." The District Court granted AMP‟s and ACB‟s motions and denied Huertas‟s motion. The District Court reasoned that expiration of the statute of limitations makes a debt unenforceable, but does not extinguish the debt itself, such that neither ACB‟s assignment of Huertas‟s debt nor AMP‟s attempt to collect on the debt violated the law or breached any duty.

Despite having rejected Huertas‟s claims to the extent that they were based on a time-barred debt, the District Court recognized that Huertas‟s filings indicated that he had previously filed for bankruptcy. Since it was unclear to the District Court whether Huertas was alleging that the defendants had attempted to collect a debt extinguished by bankruptcy proceedings, the District Court allowed Huertas to amend his complaint to assert such a theory.

Huertas did not file an amended complaint within the time period prescribed by the District Court. Instead, he dismissed his claims against the remaining defendants, and timely appealed to this Court. On appeal, Huertas explained that he did not amend his complaint because his debt had not, in fact, been discharged in bankruptcy.

II.

The District Court‟s jurisdiction arose under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 & 1367. Our jurisdiction is based on 28 U.S.C. § 1291.*fn3 Our review of the District Court‟s decision to grant AMP and ACB‟s motions to dismiss is plenary. Grier v. Klem, 591 F.3d 672, 676 (3d Cir. 2010). "[W]e accept as true all well-pled factual allegations in the complaint and all reasonable inferences that can be drawn from them, and we affirm the order of dismissal only if the pleading does not plausibly suggest an entitlement to relief." Fellner v. Tri-Union Seafoods, L.L.C., 539 F.3d 237, 242 (3d Cir. 2008). We may also consider documents attached to the complaint. Pension Benefit Guar. Corp. v. White Consol. Indus., Inc., 998 F.2d 1192, 1196 (3d Cir. 1993). Furthermore, we must construe Huertas‟s complaint ...

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