United States District Court, D. Minnesota
B. Schwiebert, Esq., DBS Law LLC, counsel for Plaintiffs.
Jessica L. Klander, Esq., and Michael A. Klutho, Esq.,
Bassford Remele, PA, counsel for Defendant.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
DONOVAN W. FRANK UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on a Motion to Dismiss brought by
Defendant Accounts Receivable Services, LLC
(“ARS”). (Doc. No. 8.) For the reasons set forth
below, the Court grants the motion.
dispute arises from ARS's attempt to collect medical debt
allegedly owed by Plaintiffs Kelly and David Hillbeck. On
October 5, 2015, ARS filed a lawsuit in Anoka County
Conciliation Court, Case No. 15-1583, against the Hillbecks
alleging that they had unpaid medical debts arising from
medical services provided by Allina Health System
(“Allina”). (Doc. No. 4 (“Am.
Compl.”) ¶¶ 6-8.) In the Conciliation-Court
Complaint, ARS alleged that the Hillbecks received medical
services at Unity Hospital between January 7, 2012, and March
27, 2013. (Conciliation-Court Complaint ¶
1.)ARS also alleged that Allina sold and
assigned the debt to ARS. (Id.) In addition, ARS
noted in the complaint that Minnesota law holds spouses
jointly and severally liable for medical debt arising from
necessary medical services provided while the spouses are
living together. (Id.)
December 10, 2015, ARS appeared at the hearing through a
non-attorney representative. (Am. Compl.
¶¶ 10, 12.) The Hillbecks appeared with counsel.
(Id. ¶ 11.) When ARS's non-attorney
representative saw that the Hillbecks were represented by
counsel, she dismissed the lawsuit without prejudice pursuant
to her instructions from ARS. (Id. ¶ 13.) After
the dismissal, ARS wrote to the Hillbecks seeking to collect
the debt. (Id. ¶¶ 18-19.) In a subsequent
letter, ARS provided the Hillbecks with documents to verify
ARS's ownership of the alleged debt. (Am. Compl. ¶
20; Doc. No. 13 ¶ 2, Ex. A.) The documents identified
Kelly Hillbeck as the “Debtor” and David Hillbeck
as the “Co-debtor.” (Am. Compl. ¶ 21.) The
documents also indicated that Allina had accounted for the
bad-debt referral on October 10, 2015, which was five days
after ARS filed its complaint in conciliation court.
(Id. ¶¶ 22-23.)
Hillbecks commenced this action on October 4, 2016. (Doc. No.
1.) Then, on November 29, 2016, the Hillbecks filed an
Amended Complaint alleging that ARS violated §§
1692e(2), 1692e(5), 1692e(10), and 1692f of the Fair Debt
Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”). (Am. Compl.
¶ 29.) In the Amended Complaint, the Hillbecks allege
that ARS violated the FDCPA by: (1) falsely stating in the
Conciliation-Court Complaint that the debt arose from medical
services provided to both David and Kelly Hillbeck, instead
of just David; (2) falsely stating in the Conciliation-Court
Complaint that Allina had sold and assigned the
Hillbecks' account to ARS; and (3) falsely identifying
Kelly Hillbeck as the “debtor” and David Hillbeck
as the “co-debtor” in the subsequent verification
documents. (Am. Compl. ¶¶ 9, 15-16, 21.) On January
24, 2017, ARS moved to dismiss. (Doc. No. 8.)
deciding a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), a court
assumes all facts in the complaint to be true and construes
all reasonable inferences from those facts in the light most
favorable to the complainant. Morton v. Becker, 793
F.2d 185, 187 (8th Cir. 1986). In doing so, however, a court
need not accept as true wholly conclusory allegations,
Hanten v. Sch. Dist. of Riverview Gardens, 183 F.3d
799, 805 (8th Cir. 1999), or legal conclusions drawn by the
pleader from the facts alleged, Westcott v. City of
Omaha, 901 F.2d 1486, 1488 (8th Cir. 1990). A court
deciding a motion to dismiss may consider the complaint,
matters of public record, orders, materials embraced by the
complaint, and exhibits attached to the complaint. See
Porous Media Corp. v. Pall Corp., 186 F.3d 1077, 1079
(8th Cir. 1999).
survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain
“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). Although a complaint
need not contain “detailed factual allegations, ”
it must contain facts with enough specificity “to raise
a right to relief above the speculative level.”
Id. at 555. As the Supreme Court reiterated,
“[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of
action, supported by mere conclusory statements, ” will
not pass muster under Twombly. Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). In sum, this standard
“calls for enough fact[s] to raise a reasonable
expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of [the
claim].” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556.
The Fair Debt ...