United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
LATASHA DANIELS, on behalf of herself and all others similarly situated
SOLOMON and SOLOMON, PC.
BARCLAY SURRICK, J.
before the Court is Defendant's Motion to Dismiss. (ECF
No. 9.) For the following reasons, Defendant's Motion
will be granted.
action arises from a debt collection letter that Plaintiff
Latasha Daniels received from Defendant Solomon and Solomon,
P.C. Plaintiff asserts one count against Defendant for
violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15
U.S.C. § 1692e ("FDCPA"), on behalf of herself
and the putative class. Plaintiff alleges that the letter
falsely implies attorney involvement, and threatens an action
that cannot legally be taken, in violation of the FDCPA.
A. Factual Background
April 4, 2016, Plaintiff received a debt communication letter
("Letter") from Defendant. (Compl. ¶ 22, ECF
No. 1.) At the time, Plaintiff owed Niagara Mohawk Power
Corporation ("Niagara") money for utility services
in the amount of $2, 850.65, and her obligation was in
default. (Id. ¶¶ 16, 21.) Niagara retained
Defendant, a law firm and debt collection agency, to collect
Plaintiff s debt. (Id. ¶¶ 7, 19.)
sent Plaintiff the Letter in order to collect Plaintiffs
debt. (Id. ¶23.) The Letter is printed on a
standard form that contains Defendant's trade name and
address on the top right-hand corner of the page.
(See Letter, Compl. Ex. A.) Plaintiff alleges that
the Letter stated, in part: "Please be advised that your
account with Solomon and Solomon P.C. still remains unpaid,
and has been reported to the national credit bureaus. You
should act now to resolve your problem!" (Id.
¶ 26.) The Letter provides payment directions, the
standard FDCPA debt collection notice, and an invoice.
(See Letter.) The Letter is not signed by a Solomon
attorney or employee. (Compl. ¶ 27.)
February 13, 2017, Plaintiff filed a Complaint in this
Court. Plaintiffs Complaint asserts one count
against Defendant for violations of the FDCPA (Count I). On
April 20, 2017, Defendant filed the instant Motion to
Dismiss. (MTD, ECF No. 9.) On May 18, 2017, Plaintiff filed a
Response in Opposition to Defendant's Motion to Dismiss.
(PL's Resp., ECF No. 12.) On May 25, 2017, Defendant
filed a Reply to Plaintiffs Response. (ECF No. 13.)
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2), "[a] pleading
that states a claim for relief must contain a short and plain
statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled
to relief." Rule 12(b)(6) provides for the dismissal of
a complaint, in whole or in part, for failure to state a
claim upon which relief can be granted. A motion under Rule
12(b)(6) tests the sufficiency of the complaint against the
pleading requirements of Rule 8(a). "To survive a motion
to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual
matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim to relief
that is plausible on its face.'" Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Ail.
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)).
is plausible "when the plaintiff pleads factual content
that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that
the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged."
Id. A complaint that merely alleges entitlement to
relief, without alleging facts that show entitlement, must be
dismissed. See Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d
203, 211 (3d Cir. 2009). Courts need not accept
"[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of
action, supported by mere conclusory statements . . . ."
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. "While legal
conclusions can provide the framework of a complaint, they
must be supported by factual allegations." Id.
at 679. This '"does not impose a probability
requirement at the pleading stage, ' but instead
'simply calls for enough facts to raise a reasonable
expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of the
necessary element." Phillips v. Cty. of
Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 234 (3d Cir. 2008) (quoting
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556).
determining whether dismissal of the complaint is
appropriate, courts use a two-part analysis. Fowler,
578 F.3d at 210. First, courts separate the factual and legal
elements of the claim and accept all of the complaint's
well-pleaded facts as true. Id. at 210-11. Next,
courts determine whether the facts alleged in the complaint
are sufficient to show that the plaintiff has a
'"plausible claim for relief" Id. at
211 (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679). Given the
nature of the two-part analysis, "'[determining
whether a complaint states a plausible claim for relief will
... be a context-specific task that requires the reviewing
court to draw on its judicial experience and common
sense.'" McTernan v. City of York, 577 F.3d
521, 530 (3d Cir. 2009) (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at