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Crawley v. Cach, LLC

United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh.

December 16, 2019

PATRICIA CRAWLEY, Plaintiff,
v.
CACH, LLC, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION [1]

          CYNTHIA REED EDDY CHIEF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         I. INTRODUCTION

         This civil action was removed to this court from the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania on March 5, 2019. Plaintiff Patricia Crawley brings the present action against Defendant Cach, LLC for alleged violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. §§ 1692-1692p (“FDCPA”) and related state law claims. This court has subject matter jurisdiction over the controversy pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331 and supplemental jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367.

         Presently pending before the court is a motion by Defendant to dismiss the claims against it pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim (ECF No. 4). For the reasons that follow, Defendant's motion is denied.

         II. BACKGROUND

         On June 23, 2015, Defendant filed a complaint in civil action in the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania against Plaintiff involving a consumer loan with the original creditor of HSBC Consumer Lending, USA, Inc. (“HSBC”) alleging a breach of contract and demanded judgment in the amount of $3, 600.26. Compl. (ECF No. 1-2) at ¶¶ 16-18. Defendant purchased the alleged delinquent account from Springleaf Financial, who had previously acquired the account from HSBC. Id. at ¶ 19. On preliminary objections to the state court action, the court dismissed the action with prejudice on January 27, 2016. Id. at ¶ 21.

         On January 8, 2018, Defendant sent Plaintiff a letter seeking payment from Plaintiff for the $3, 600.26 obligation. Id. at ¶ 25. On February 22, 2018, Defendant filed a second lawsuit in magisterial court in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania demanding payment for the same obligation. Id. at ¶ 31. On March 5, 2018, counsel for Plaintiff entered an appearance for Plaintiff and gave notice of Plaintiff's intention to present a defense at the hearing. Id. at ¶ 35. On March 6, 2018, Defendant sent another letter directly to Plaintiff urging payment and settlement of the claim and if accepted, Defendant would take all steps necessary to discontinue the magisterial court lawsuit. Id. at ¶ 36. On March 7, 2018, the court notified Defendant's counsel of Plaintiff's intention to defend the claim and Defendant thereafter withdrew the claim. Id. at ¶¶ 37-38. On or about March 9, 2018, the magisterial court issued a disposition showing the complaint was “dismissed without prejudice.” Id. at ¶ 39. Plaintiff claims that the significance of the case being dismissed without prejudice is that Defendant retains a right to refile the action at a later date. Id. at ¶ 40. Plaintiff also claims that during this entire time, she was represented by counsel and Defendant had actual knowledge that she was represented by the same counsel that represents here in this case, yet chose to communicate directly with Plaintiff in violation of, inter alia, the FDCPA.

         Plaintiff alleges that Defendant's conduct has violated the FDCPA (Count I); Pennsylvania Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law, 73 C.S. § 201-1, et seq. (“UTPCPL”) (Count II); Pennsylvania Fair Credit Extension Uniformity Act, 73 Pa. Stat. Ann. § 2270.1, et seq. (“FCEUA”) (Count III); and constitutes an invasion of privacy under Pennsylvania common law (Count IV). Defendant moves to dismiss Plaintiff's complaint in its entirety pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim.

         III. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         The applicable inquiry under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) is well-settled. Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8, a complaint 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 12(b)(6) provides that a complaint may be dismissed for “failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). “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 Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). 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). 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 elements.” Phillips v. Cnty. of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 234 (3d Cir. 2008) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). Nevertheless, the court need not accept as true “unsupported conclusions and unwarranted inferences, ” Doug Grant, Inc. v. Great Bay Casino Corp., 232 F.3d 173, 183-84 (3d Cir. 2000), or the plaintiff's “bald assertions” or “legal conclusions.” Morse v. Lower Merion Sch. Dist., 132 F.3d 902, 906 (3d Cir. 1997).

         Although a complaint does not need detailed factual allegations to survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, a complaint must provide more than labels and conclusions. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. A “formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.” Id. (citing Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 286 (1986)). “Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level” and “sufficient to state a claim for relief that is plausible on its face.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. Facial plausibility exists “when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft, 556 U.S. at 678 (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556).

         The plausibility standard is not akin to a “probability requirement, ” but it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully. . . . Where a complaint pleads facts that are “merely consistent with” a defendant's liability, it “stops short of the line between possibility and plausibility of ‘entitlement to relief.'” Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556) (internal citations omitted).

         When considering a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the court's role is limited to determining whether a plaintiff is entitled to offer evidence in support of his claims. See Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236 (1974). The court does not consider whether a plaintiff will ultimately prevail. Id. A defendant bears the burden of establishing that a plaintiff's complaint fails to state a claim. Gould Elecs. v. United States, 220 F.3d 169, 178 (3d Cir. 2000).

         IV. ...


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