United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Alexandria Division
RUBY LAMBERT, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiff,
NAVY FEDERAL CREDIT UNION, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
O'Grady United States District Judge
matter comes before the Court on Defendant's Motion to
Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim (Dkt. 19). The Motion is
fully briefed, and the Court heard oral argument on May 24,
2019. For the reasons stated below, and for good cause shown,
Defendant's Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a
Claim (Dkt. 19) is hereby GRANTED.
Ruby Lambert alleges that Defendant Navy Federal Credit Union
charges multiple nonsufficient fund fees for multiple
attempts to process a single payment request in violation of
contractual language implying that only a single
nonsufficient fund fee would ever be charged for a payment
request, no matter how many times that payment request is
declined for nonsufficient funds.
contract with Navy Federal states that Navy Federal
"may" assess "[a] fee" "for each
returned debit item." Navy Fed. Credit Union Important
Disclosures (hereinafter "Important Disclosures")
at 4. Plaintiffs insurer, Mutual of Omaha, attempted to
automatically deduct Plaintiffs insurance payment from her
Navy Federal account (with Plaintiffs prior authorization)
using an Automated Clearing House ("ACH") debit
request. That request was rejected due to insufficient funds,
and Plaintiff was charged a nonsufficient fund fee. Mutual of
Omaha again submitted an ACH debit request for the same
payment two days later. Navy Federal again rejected the
request due to insufficient funds and charged Plaintiff with
another nonsufficient fund fee. Plaintiff challenges Navy
Federal's assessment of the second nonsufficient fund
fee, as she views Mutual of Omaha's original payment
request and subsequent reprocessing attempt as involving the
same "debit item." Plaintiff has brought two claims
against Navy Federal: (1) breach of contract and the covenant
of good faith and fair dealing under Virginia law, and (2)
violation of North Carolina's Unfair and Deceptive Trade
Navy Federal Credit Union has moved to dismiss both claims on
preemption grounds and for failure to state a valid claim.
survive a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6), a complaint must contain sufficient
factual information to "state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face." Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). A motion to dismiss
pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) must be considered in combination
with Rule 8(a)(2), which requires "a short and plain
statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled
to relief so as to "give the defendant fair notice of
what the ... claim is and the grounds upon which it
rests." Id. (quoting Conley v. Gibson,
355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)). While "detailed factual
allegations" are not required, Rule 8 does demand that a
plaintiff provide more than mere labels and conclusions
stating that the plaintiff is entitled to relief.
Id. In evaluating whether a complaint states a
plausible claim to relief, "although a court must accept
as true all factual allegations contained in [the] complaint,
such deference is not accorded to legal conclusions stated
therein." Walters v. McMahen, 684 F.3d 435, 439
(4th Cir. 2012).
Plaintiffs Claims Are Partially Preempted.
Navy Federal Credit Union argues Plaintiffs claims are
preempted by the National Credit Union Administration's
("NCUA") regulations implementing the Federal
Credit Union Act ("FCUA") and Truth in Savings Act
("TISA"). State law claims may be preempted by
Congress "either expressly through the statute or
regulation's language or impliedly through its aim and
structure." Whittington v. Mobiloil Fed. Credit
Union, 2017 WL 6988193, at *6 (E.D. Tex. Sept. 14, 2017)
(citing Altria Grp., Inc. v. Good, 555 U.S. 70, 76
relevant implementing regulations of the FCUA and TISA are
contained in 12 C.F.R.
701 and 707, respectively. The FCUA's implementing
A Federal credit union may, consistent with this section,
parts 707 and 740 of this subchapter, other federal law,
and its contractual obligations, determine the types
of fees or charges and other matters affecting the opening,
maintaining and closing of a share, share draft or share
certificate account. State ...