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Klein v. Credico Inc.

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

July 12, 2018

Dina Klein, Plaintiff,
v.
Credico, Inc., Defendant.

          Darren B. Schwiebert, Esq. and DBS Law LLC, counsel for plaintiff.

          Jessica L. Klander, Esq. and Bassford Remele, counsel for defendant.

          ORDER

          David S. Doty, Judge

         This matter is before the court upon the motion to dismiss by defendant Credico Inc. Based on a review of the file, record, and proceedings herein, and for the following reasons, the motion is granted.

         BACKGROUND

         This debt-collection dispute arises out of Credico's attempt to collect, on behalf of High Pointe Surgery Center, a $3, 902.46 debt from plaintiff Dina Klein, a Minnesota resident. Compl. ¶¶ 4, 6; Klander Decl. Ex. A. On March 14, 2017, Credico, which also does business under the registered name of Credit Collections Bureau, sent a collection letter to Klein informing her that a lawsuit would be brought against her unless she contacted its collector, Shane Gold, to pay the debt in full or pursue one of other several options listed. Compl. ¶ 6; see Klander Decl. Ex. A.

         On March 9, 2018, Klein filed suit against Credico alleging that the letter violated the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA), 15 U.S.C. § 1692, et seq. Klein contends that the letter was false, deceptive, and misleading because it: (1) listed a return address in Portland, Oregon, although Credico is based in South Dakota; (2) falsely identified Credico as “Professional Debt Collectors, ” an entity that does not exist; (3) invited her to pay her debt or correspond with “CCB” at www.payccb.com even though the letter did not state the identity of “CCB” and the name “CCB” is not a registered name of Credico; (4) was signed by an individual debt collector, Kathy Mitchell, who was not licensed in Minnesota, and (5) stated that Credico could seek pre-judgment interest against her, which Klein asserts Credico had no legal basis to recover. Compl. ¶¶ 12-14, 16-20. Credico now moves to dismiss.

         DISCUSSION

         I. Standard of Review

         To survive a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, “‘a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'” Braden v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 588 F.3d 585, 594 (8th Cir. 2009) (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)). “A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff [has pleaded] factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (citing Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 556 (2007)). Although a complaint need not contain detailed factual allegations, it must raise a right to relief above the speculative level. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. “[L]abels and conclusions or a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action” are not sufficient to state a claim. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (citation and internal quotation marks omitted).

         The court does not consider matters outside the pleadings under Rule 12(b)(6). Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(d). The court may, however, consider matters of public record and materials that are “necessarily embraced by the pleadings.” Porous Media Corp. v. Pall Corp., 186 F.3d 1077, 1079 (8th Cir. 1999) (citation and internal quotation marks omitted). Here, the court properly considers Credico's letter.

         II. Identity of the Debt Collector

         Credico argues that Klein's claims that the letter created confusion regarding the identity of the debt collection agency fail as a matter of law. The court agrees.

         The FDCPA prohibits a debt collector from employing “any false, deceptive, or misleading representation in connection with the collection of the debt” or using the name of a “business, company, or organization ... other than the true name of the debt collector's business ....” 15 U.S.C. §§ 1692e, 1692e(14). In determining whether a debt collection letter is false, deceptive, or misleading, the court must view it “through the eyes of an unsophisticated consumer.” Peters v. Gen. Serv. Bureau, Inc., 277 F.3d 1051, 1055 (8th Cir. 2002). Although the test is meant to protect consumers of “below average sophistication or intelligence, ” the court must also apply an “objective element of reasonableness.” Id. (citations and internal quotations marks omitted). In other words, a plaintiff cannot prevail on ...


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