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Graham v. ADP Totalsource, Inc.

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

June 18, 2015



NORMA L. SHAPIRO, District Judge.

Before the court is the motion to dismiss the first amended complaint of plaintiff Jacquelyne Graham ("Graham") under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) filed by defendants ADP TotalSource, Inc. and The Law Office of Rory W. Clark, A Professional Law Corporation. The motion to dismiss will be granted without leave to amend.


Graham, formerly a resident of Ventura County, California, alleges she and her former husband purchased a used vehicle for approximately $8, 000 about ten years ago. Am. Compl. ¶ 8. The vehicle was repossessed in California when Graham and her former husband stopped making installment payments. Id. at ¶ 9. Graham alleges the repossession was listed as a "write-off" on her credit report. Id. at ¶ 10. In 2005, The Law Offices of Rory W. Clark ("Clark") filed a civil action against Graham on behalf of its client Credit Acceptance Corporation, an automobile financial services company providing automobile loans, to recover a deficiency balance following repossession of the vehicle. Mot. Dismiss at 2; see Register of Actions re: Credit Acceptance Corporation v. Jacqueline Graham ("ROA") (paper no. 19, Ex. A). Graham was personally served with the summons and complaint at her then-residence in California. ROA at #8. In June 2006, the Superior Court of California - Ventura County entered a default judgment against Graham. Id. at #19-26. Writs of garnishment were issued by the court. Id. at #31, 33. On February 5, 2013, the most recent writ of garnishment was issued. Id. at #33.

On or around June 6, 2013, Graham's employer, Connolly, Inc., was served in Los Angeles, California with an Earnings Withholding Order to withhold and remit to the Sheriff's Department of Los Angeles County certain amounts from Graham's wages until a total amount of $17, 460.77 was collected. Mot. Dismiss at 2; Earnings Withholding Order (paper no. 19, Ex. B). The Earnings Withholding Order was forwarded by Connolly, Inc. to ADP TotalSource, Inc. ("ADP"), the payroll processor for Connolly, Inc. Mot. Dismiss at 2.

Graham secured new employment in Pennsylvania. Am. Compl. ¶ 15. On or about June 17, 2013, while residing in Pennsylvania, Graham alleges her employer received a letter stating ADP had a "Court Order/Notice to Withhold Earnings for an obligation in Plaintiff's name." Id. A total of $5, 736.95 was garnished from her wages during the next three months. Id. at ¶ 17.

On August 16, 2013, Connolly, Inc. and the ADP Wage Garnishment Unit received a letter from Graham's counsel stating, "Wage garnishment is unlawful and in Pennsylvania (where Ms. Graham works), this matter will soon be in litigation against the garnishor and its counsel." Mot. Dismiss at 3; Letter from Plaintiff's Counsel Dated August 16, 2014 (paper no. 19, Ex. C). On June 4, 2014, Graham filed this civil action. The defendants filed a motion to dismiss her complaint. On September 15, 2014, Graham filed an amended complaint alleging the defendants violated: The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act ("FDCPA"), 15 U.S.C. §§ 1692, et seq. (Count One); the Pennsylvania Fair Credit Extension Uniformity Act ("FCEUA"), 73 Pa. S.A. §§ 2270 et seq. (Count Two); and the Pennsylvania Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law ("UTPCPL"), 73 Pa. S.A. §§ 201-1 et seq. (Count Three). Am. Compl. (paper no. 11). Defendants moved to dismiss the amended complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). Mot. Dismiss (paper no. 19).


The court has federal question jurisdiction over Graham's FDCPA claim under 15 U.S.C. § 1692k(d) and 28 U.S.C. § 1331. Venue is proper under 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b) because the events giving rise to this action occurred in this district. This court will exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the state law claims because they are so related to the federal FDCPA claim they form part of the same case or controversy, see 28 U.S.C. § 1367(a), and judicial economy does not warrant two separate proceedings in state and federal court on these interrelated claims. See Borough of W. Mifflin v. Lancaster, 45 F.3d 780, 788 (3d Cir. 1995).


Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), a district court may dismiss all or part of an action for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. When considering a motion to dismiss, a court "accept[s] all factual allegations as true, construe[s] the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, and determine[s] whether, under any reasonable reading of the complaint, the plaintiff may be entitled to relief." Phillips v. Cnty of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 233 (3d Cir. 2008) (citing Pinker v. Roche Holdings Ltd., 292 F.3d 361, 374 n. 7 (3rd Cir. 2002).

A complaint must contain sufficient facts that, when accepted as true, state a claim that is plausible on its face. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009); Bell Atlantic v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007). A complaint is facially plausible if it pleads "factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 663. "Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, " do not establish a plausible allegation. Id.


A. Violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act ...

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