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Conquest v. Plaza Services, LLC

United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Norfolk Division

August 8, 2017

TENEKA CONQUEST, Plaintiff,
v.
PLAZA SERVICES, LLC, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER

          RAYMOND A. JACKSON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Before the Court is Defendant Plaza Services, LLC's Motion to Dismiss for failure to state a claim, pursuant to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 12(b)(6) ("Rule 12(b)(6) Motion"). Def.'s Mot. to Dismiss, ECF No. 4. The Parties have fully briefed this matter and it is ripe for disposition. The Court also finds that a hearing will not aid judicial determination. For the reasons stated below, Defendant's Motion to Dismiss is DENIED.

         I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         Plaintiff incurred a consumer debt owned by First Virginia, the original creditor, prior to November 18, 2016. See Def.'s Mem. Ex. A, ECF No. 5. Defendant subsequently purchased Plaintiff's debt from First Virginia and currently owns the debt. Id.

         Defendant sent an initial collection letter to Plaintiff on November 18, 2016. Id. The collection letter contained three paragraphs, the last of which was the "validation notice." Id. A validation notice is a paragraph that advises a consumer of their outstanding debt and their respective rights to dispute that debt under the Federal Debt Collections Practices Act ("FDCPA"), 15 U.S.C. §§ 1692-16920.

         Plaintiffs Complaint alleges that Defendant's validation notice is deficient and violates the requirements of 15 U.S.C. § 1692g ("§ 1692g"). Compl. ¶ 12, ECF No. 1. Plaintiff further alleges that the letter's first paragraph overshadows the validation notice, in violation of § 1692g. Compl. ¶ 14, ECF No. 1. Plaintiff believes she has been damaged as a result of Defendant's alleged deceptive, misleading and unfair debt collection practices. Compl. ¶ 19, ECF No. 1.

         Plaintiff filed her Complaint in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia on February 20, 2016. ECF No. 1. The complaint contains one count alleging Defendant's debt collection efforts violated the FDCPA. Compl. ¶¶ 20-22, ECF No. 1. This includes, but is not limited to, 15 U.S.C. §§ 1692e, 1692f, and 1692g. Compl. ¶ 21, ECF No. 1.

         Defendant filed this Rule 12(b)(6) Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's complaint, and its brief in support of its Motion to Dismiss, on March 14, 2017. ECF Nos. 4, 5. Plaintiff filed her response in opposition to Defendant's Motion to Dismiss on March 28, 2017. ECF No. 10.

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         A Rule 12(b)(6) Motion to Dismiss alleges that a plaintiff has "fail[ed] to state a claim upon which relief can be granted." Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). Essentially, a Rule 12(b)(6) Motion challenges the legal sufficiency of a complaint. Francis v. Giacomelli, 588 F.3d 186, 192 (4th Cir. 2009) (citing Jordan v. Alt. Res. Corp., 458 F.3d 332, 338 (4th Cir. 2006)). Importantly, a Rule 12(b)(6) Motion does not "resolve contests surrounding the facts, the merits of a claim, or the applicability of defenses." Republican Party of North Carolina v. Martin, 980 F.2d 943, 952 (4th Cir. 1992).

         To state a claim for relief, a pleading 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). In order for a complaint to survive a Rule 12(b)(6) Motion, it need not assert "detailed factual allegations, " Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 545 (2007), but it must contain sufficient factual matter to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). A court must assume the factual allegations are true and construe them "in the light most favorable to the plaintiff." Martin, 980 F.2d at 952. As a threshold matter, a court must first separate the legal conclusions, which are not entitled to the assumption of truth. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 589-90. A court "need not accept as true unwarranted inferences, unreasonable conclusions, or arguments." E. Shore Mkt. Inc. v. J.D. Assoc. Ltd. P 'ship, 213 F.3d 175, 180 (4th Cir. 2000).

         A court "must consider the complaint in its entirety, as well as other sources courts ordinarily examine when ruling on Rule 12(b)(6) motions to dismiss, in particular, documents incorporated into the complaint by reference, and matters of which a court may take judicial notice." Tellabs, Inc. v. Makor Issues & Rights, Ltd, 551 U.S. 308, 322 (2007). In other words, a court is not limited to the four corners of the complaint, but may consider other documents such as "official public records, documents central to plaintiffs claim, and documents sufficiently referred to in the complaint so long as the authenticity of these documents is not disputed." Witthohn v. Fed. Ins. Co., 164 Fed.App'x 395, 396 (4th Cir. 2006); see also 5B Charles Alan Wright et al., Federal Practice and Procedure § 1357 (3d ed. 2004 and Supp. 2007)). This is a context-specific task that requires the court to draw on its "judicial experience and common sense." Francis, 588 F.3d at 193.

         A Motion to Dismiss for failure to state a claim for relief "should not be granted unless it appears to a certainty that the plaintiff would be entitled to no relief under any state of facts which could be provided in support of his claim." Johnson v. Mueller, 415 F.2d 354, 354 (4th Cir. 1969); see also Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325-26 (1989).

         III. DISCUSSION

         The primary issue presented is whether Plaintiff's factual allegations, when taken as true, plausibly demonstrate ...


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