United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
OPINION DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR PARTIAL JUDGMENT
ON THE PLEADINGS, ECF NO. 25 - GRANTED (AS TO
COUNT TWO, ONLY)
F. LEESON, JR., UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Havassy had his identity stolen by an individual. That
individual utilized Havassy's identity to purchase a
Mercedes-Benz in Colorado. Havassy then initiated the
above-captioned action and filed a two-count amended
complaint against Mercedes with Count One being a Fair Credit
Reporting Act (FCRA) claim and Count Two being a common law
negligence claim. Mercedes brings this motion for judgment on
the pleadings for Count Two only. For the following reasons,
Mercedes' motion for judgment on the pleadings is
alleges the following facts:
around June 20, 2017, an individual, without Havassy's
knowledge or consent, opened an auto loan account with
Mercedes. Pl. Am. Compl. ¶ 7, ECF No. 7. The individual
then used the account to purchase a Mercedes at a dealership
in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Id. at ¶ 8. The
individual purchased the vehicle for $73, 078, with no money
down, and no trade-in. Id. at ¶ 10. Mercedes
funded the account the individual opened. Id.
Havassy asserts the opening of the account by the individual
should have immediately alerted Mercedes the account was
fraudulent. Id. at ¶ 9. He further asserts he
did not benefit from the opening of the account. Id.
at ¶ 11.
the car purchase in June of 2017, Mercedes reported the
account on Havassy's credit reports with an outstanding
balance of $73, 078. Id. at ¶ 12. After
approximately three months, on or about September 29, 2017,
Todd Wolfe, a representative from the Mercedes fraud
department, contacted Havassy to inform him Mercedes believed
he was a victim of identity theft. Id. at ¶ 13.
After notifying Havassy of the suspected identity theft,
Mercedes continued to report the account on Havassy's
credit reports and additionally began to report the account
as a negative payment history. Id. at ¶ 14.
This reporting continued from September 2017 to November
2017, then Mercedes began to report the account as a
charge-off. Id. at ¶ 15.
attempt to remedy the identity theft, Havassy disputed the
debt with all three consumer reporting agencies (CRAs), and
also with Mercedes. Id. at ¶ 16. From June 2017
to November 2017, Plaintiff submitted disputes to all three
CRAs detailing he was a victim of identity theft.
Id. at ¶ 17. In total, there were nine
disputes, all of which were forwarded to Mercedes.
Id. at ¶ 18.
responded to Havassy in December of 2017, acknowledging the
fraudulent account and informing Havassy it would delete the
account from his credit reports. Id. at ¶ 22.
However, Mercedes continued to report the account to Havassy
as a charge-off with a negative payment history through July
of 2018. Id. at ¶ 23, 24. Resultantly, Havassy
suffered damages in lost credit opportunities, a negative
credit report, and distress. Id. at ¶ 25, 26.
filed a two-count complaint on April 15, 2019, and then
amended his complaint on May 17, 2019. After the conclusion
of discovery, Mercedes filed this motion for judgment on the
may move for judgment on the pleadings “[a]fter the
pleadings are closed - but early enough not to delay
trial.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(c). Judgment on the pleadings
is appropriate when “the movant clearly establishes
that no material issue of fact remains . . . and that he is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Rosenau
v. Unifund Corp., 539 F.3d 218, 221 (3d Cir. 2008).
deciding a motion for judgment on the pleadings, the Court
considers the pleadings and exhibits attached thereto,
matters of public record and “undisputedly authentic
documents attached to the motion for judgment on the
pleadings if plaintiffs' claims are based on the
documents.” Atiyeh v. Nat'l Fire Ins. Co. of
Hartford, 742 F.Supp.2d 591, 595 (E.D. Pa. 2010). A
motion for judgment on the pleadings is analyzed under the
same standards that apply to a Rule 12(b)(6) motion.
Zimmerman v. Corbett, 873 F.3d 414, 417 (3d Cir.
2017). Accordingly, the Court “accept[s] as true all
allegations in plaintiff's complaint as well as all
reasonable inferences that can be drawn from them, and [the
court] construes them in a light most favorable to the
non-movant.” Tatis v. Allied Interstate, LLC,
882 F.3d 422, 426 (3d Cir. 2018) (quoting Sheridan v. NGK
Metals Corp., 609 F.3d 239, 262 n.27 (3d Cir. 2010)).
motion will be granted if the plaintiff has not articulated
enough facts “to raise a right to relief above the
speculative level.” Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). The plaintiff must
plead “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 Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). A
claim 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. (quoting Twombly, 550
U.S. at 557). It is not enough for a plaintiff to allege mere
“labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of
the elements of a cause of action will not do.”
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. “The plausibility