United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
For Kristen Forrest, Plaintiff: Brett M. Freeman, LEAD ATTORNEY, Sabatini Law Firm LLC, Dunmore, PA.
For Genpact Services, LLC, Defendant: Jonathan J. Greystone, Spector Gadon & Rosen, P.C., Philadelphia, PA.
NEALON, United States District Judge.
Plaintiff, Kristen Forrest, initiated this matter by filing a complaint on November 12, 2012 against the Defendant, Genpact Services, LLC, alleging that Defendant violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, 47 U.S.C. § 227 (" TCPA" ) and the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1692, et seq. (" FDCPA" ) by placing calls to Plaintiff's cell phone while attempting to collect a debt using equipment prohibited by the TCPA. (Doc. 1). On December 10, 2012, Defendant filed an answer with affirmative defenses (Doc. 4), but subsequently filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings (Doc. 6) pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c) on March 28, 2013. On April 1, 2013, Defendant filed a brief in support of the motion for judgment on the pleadings; on April 19, 2013, Plaintiff filed a brief in opposition; and on May 10, 2013 and May 13, 2013, Defendant filed a reply brief. (Docs. 7 & 10-12). Defendant's motion for judgment on the pleadings (Doc. 6) is now ripe for disposition and for the reasons that follow will be denied.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Under Rule 12(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, after the pleadings are closed, any party may move for judgment on the pleadings. A Rule 12(c) motion is designed to provide a means for disposing of cases when the material facts are not in dispute and a judgment on the merits can be achieved by focusing on the content of the pleadings and any facts of which the court will take judicial notice. See Charles Alan Wright and Arthur B. Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure, § 1367. A court should only grant a motion for judgment on the pleadings if it is clear that the merits of the controversy can be fully and fairly decided in this summary manner.
See id. at § 1369.
In deciding a motion for judgment on the pleadings, a court must consider the facts alleged in the pleadings and the inferences drawn from these facts in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. See Oxford Assocs. v. Waste Sys. Auth. of E. Montgomery County, 271 F.3d 140, 144-45 (3d Cir. 2001); McCoy v. Southeastern PA. Transp. Auth., No. 01-5881, 2002 WL 376913, at *1 (E.D. Pa. 2002). The motion may only be granted if there are no factual allegations in the pleadings which, if proven, would allow the nonmoving party to recover.
See Oxford Assocs., 271 F.3d at 144-45; McCoy, 2002 WL 376913 at *1.
Defendant caused " an excessive number of calls to be placed to Plaintiff's cell phone while attempting to collect a debt." (Doc. 1, ¶ 1). Specifically, Defendant called Plaintiff over 225 times in a 54-day period using either an automatic telephone dialing system or an artificial or prerecorded voice. (Doc. 1, ¶ ¶ 14-15). The phone number called was " assigned to a cellular telephone service for which Plaintiff incurs a charge for incoming calls." (Doc. 1, ¶ 10). At all relevant times, Plaintiff was a " consumer" and Defendant was a " debt collector" as the terms are defined under the FDCPA and Plaintiff allegedly owed a " debt" as the term is defined under the FDCPA and Defendant was attempting to collect that debt. (Doc. 1, ¶ ¶ 7-8 & 11-12). The calls " were made willfully and/or knowingly" and " were placed repeatedly and continuously with the intent to harass, annoy and abuse Plaintiff." (Doc. 1, ¶ ¶ 19 & 25).
Defendant moves for judgment on the pleadings pursuant to Rule 12(c) regarding Plaintiff's TCPA claims by making the following arguments: (1) Plaintiff's TCPA claims must be dismissed because Plaintiff fails to allege she actually answered the calls to her cell phone, which is required to prevail under 47 U.S.C. § 227(b)(1)(A)(iii); and (2) Plaintiff's TCPA claims must be dismissed because calls made for debt collection purposes do not fall under the ambit of the TCPA. (Doc. 7, pp. 3-8). Defendant also argues that Plaintiff's FDCPA ...