United States District Court, D. Minnesota
Jonathan Drewes and Bennett Hartz for Plaintiff.
Bradley Armstrong, Derrick Weber, and Patrick Newman for Defendant.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
FRANKLIN L. NOEL, Magistrate Judge.
THIS MATTER came before the undersigned United States Magistrate Judge on Defendant's corrected motion to dismiss (ECF No. 7). The matter was referred to the undersigned for Report and Recommendation pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636 and Local Rule 72.1. For the reasons set forth below, the Court recommends that Defendant's motion be DENIED.
I. FINDINGS OF FACT
On April 15, 2011, Discover Bank obtained a judgment against Plaintiff in Winona County District Court for $3, 709.76. Compl. ¶ 6, ECF No. 1. This judgment "included [Defendant's] costs and attorney's fees as determined by the Court." Id. ¶ 8. Thereafter, the Winona County Court Administrator sent a notice of entry of judgment to Plaintiff. Id. Ex. B. The notice stated that "[c]osts and interest will accrue on any money judgment amounts from the date of entry until the judgment is satisfied in full." Id. Pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 549.09, the interest accrued at the rate of four percent per annum. Id. ¶ 9.
On January 21, 2014, Defendant sent a letter to Plaintiff stating that "[o]ur client has a judgment in this case that has a current unpaid balance of $4, 203.02." Id. ¶ 11, Ex. D. On April 21, 2014, three months after Defendant issued the letter, the Winona County Civil Court Administrator identified the current judgment balance (including interest) as $4, 157.37. Id. ¶ 12. Likewise, on May 7, 2014, the Court Administrator stated that the current balance was $4, 163.88, an amount still less than the judgment amount identified by Defendant in the January 21, 2014 letter. Id. ¶ 13.
Plaintiff John Eger commenced this action on May 7, 2014, alleging that Defendant Messerli & Kramer, P.A. violated sections 1692e(2)(A) and 1692e(9) of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). See generally id. Specifically, Eger contends that Messerli "misrepresent[ed] the amount and legal status" of a judgment Messerli sought to enforce on behalf of its client, Discover Bank. Id. ¶¶ 6, 19. Defendant now brings a motion to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), alleging that Plaintiff's FDCPA claims fail as a matter of law. Mot., ECF No. 7.
II. STANDARD OF REVIEW
In considering a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the court views the pleadings in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party and treats the alleged facts as true. See Ossman v. Diana Corp., 825 F.Supp. 870, 879-80 (D. Minn. 1993). Conclusions of law made by the nonmoving party, however, are not "blindly accept[ed]." Westcott v. City of Omaha, 901 F.2d 1486, 1488 (8th Cir. 1990). A Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss is granted when the factual allegations, even assumed to be true, do not entitle that party to relief. See, e.g., Taxi Connection v. Dakota, Minn. & E. R.R. Corp., 513 F.3d 823, 826-27 (8th Cir. 2008).
Under Rule 8(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, pleadings "shall contain a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." A pleading must allege "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). "A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw a reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). Determining whether a complaint states a plausible claim for relief is "a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense." Id. "But where the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has alleged-but not shown'-that the pleader is entitled to relief.'" Id. (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)).
A. The Court will not consider the Newman Declaration
Defendant argues that Plaintiff's claims fail as a matter of law because Defendant was entitled to add post-judgment costs to Plaintiff's judgment balance without court approval, and therefore the judgment amount quoted to Plaintiff in the January 21 letter was accurate. Def.'s Mem. in Supp. of Mot. to Dismiss 5-11, ECF No. 9. In support of this argument, Defendant filed a declaration-the Newman Declaration-which sets forth Defendant's ...