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Fitzgerald v. Lavrar

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

February 11, 2015

Kevin Fitzgerald, Plaintiff,
v.
Zakheim & LaVrar, P.A., Defendant

Thomas J. Lyons, Jr., Esq., Consumer Justice Center, P.A., counsel for Plaintiff.

Russell S. Ponessa, Esq., and Ashley M. DeMinck, Esq., Hinshaw & Culbertson, LLP, counsel for Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

DONOVAN W. FRANK, United States District Judge.

INTRODUCTION

This matter is before the Court on Defendant Zakheim & LaVrar, P.A.'s (" Zakheim & LaVrar" ) Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction. (Doc. No. 4.) For the reasons set forth below, the Court grants Defendant's motion.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Kevin Fitzgerald (" Fitzgerald" ) is a restaurant owner who resides in St. Paul, Minnesota. (Doc. No. 1 (" Compl." ) ¶ ¶ 4, 7.) Defendant Zakheim & LaVrar is a Florida law firm with its principal place of business in Plantation, Florida. ( Id. ¶ 5; Doc. No. 7 (" LaVrar Aff." ) ¶ 3.)

In June 2013, Defendant and Discover Bank obtained a civil judgment against an individual named Kevin M. Fitzgerald in the District of Florida for $5,139.30 relating to an unpaid consumer debt with Discover Bank. (Compl. ¶ 6.) On June 20, 2013, the Broward County Court in Florida ordered a writ for garnishment directed to Wells Fargo Bank (" Wells Fargo" ) regarding the outstanding judgment in the amount of $5,139.30 against the debtor identified as Kevin M. Fitzgerald. ( Id. ¶ 7.)

On June 28, 2013, Defendant served the writ of garnishment on Wells Fargo. ( Id. ¶ 8.) According to Plaintiff, Defendant only provided Wells Fargo with the name " Kevin M. Fitzgerald," the last known address of the debtor, and the last four digits of the debtor's social security number, despite allegedly having possession of the debtor's full name (including middle name), full social security number, full date of birth, and other identifying information. ( Id. ¶ ¶ 10-11.)

Later tat day, Plaintiff attended a dinner at a restaurant in Minneapolis, Minnesota. ( Id. ¶ 17.) Following the dinner, Plaintiff attempted to pay his restaurant bill with his Wells Fargo debit card, but a server informed Plaintiff that his card had been declined. ( Id. ¶ 19.) Plaintiff then called Wells Fargo and discovered that a hold was placed on his account due to a garnishment summons issued in Florida. ( Id. ¶ 20.)

On July 1, 2013, Plaintiff's wife met with a Wells Fargo representative in St. Paul, Minnesota regarding the hold on Plaintiff's account. ( Id. ¶ 22.) Plaintiff alleges that during the meeting, the Wells Fargo representative told Plaintiff's wife that the hold was a mistake, that the hold should have been directed at a different person, and that the hold would be lifted. ( Id.)

On July 7, 2013, Plaintiff checked his bank account balance and discovered that Wells Fargo had deducted $10,278 from his account and had issued a hold on his Safe Deposit Box. ( Id. ¶ 23.) Plaintiff alleges that he contacted Wells Fargo and was told that nothing could be done to address the problem because it was a Sunday. ( Id.)

On July 8, 2013, Plaintiff's wife called Wells Fargo and obtained a copy of the writ of garnishment from Wells Fargo against an individual named Kevin M. Fitzgerald for a debt with Discover Bank. ( Id. ¶ 24.) Plaintiff then discovered that the Kevin M. Fitzgerald named on the writ of garnishment had a different social security number and date of birth than Plaintiff's social security number and date of birth. ( Id. ¶ 25.) According to Plaintiff, when Plaintiff's wife contacted a Wells Fargo representative regarding this discovery, the representative allegedly told her that he would attempt to fix the issue but that he did not know if or when the problem would be resolved. ( Id. ¶ 26.)

On July 9, 2013, Plaintiff met with two Wells Fargo representatives. ( Id. ¶ 28.) At that meeting, Plaintiff alleges that he told the representatives that his funds were wrongfully taken. ( Id.) According to Plaintiff, during that meeting, one of the representatives allegedly admitted that Wells Fargo was at fault for the withdrawal of funds from Plaintiff's account and that Wells Fargo had made a mistake. ( Id. ΒΆ 30.) Plaintiff alleges that the same representative blamed Defendant and Discover Bank for initiating the garnishment without more ...


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