United States District Court, D. Minnesota
Mitchell R. Hadler, Plaintiff,
Alltran Financial, L.P., Defendant.
Yang, Esq., Law Office of Mitchell R. Hadler, counsel for
C. Ballinger, Esq., and Jenna Kathryn Johnson, Esq., Ballard
Spahr LLP, counsel for Defendant.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
R. THORSON UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Mitchell Hadler filed a case against Defendant Alltran
Financial, L.P. (“Alltran”) for damages based on
alleged violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act,
15 U.S.C. § 1692, et seq.
(“FDCPA”). This matter is before the Court on
Defendant Alltran Financial, L.P.'s
(“Alltran”) Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's
Amended Complaint (Doc. No. 19), for failure to state a
claim. The motion has been referred to this Court for a
Report and Recommendation under 28 U.S.C. § 636 and D.
Minn. LR 72.1. (Doc. No. 23.) On January 18, 2019, this Court
held a hearing on the matter in which counsel appeared on
behalf of each party. (See Doc. No. 30.) For the
reasons stated below, this Court recommends that
Defendant's motion be granted in part and denied in part,
and Plaintiff be allowed to proceed with his FDCPA claims
based on 15 U.S.C. § 1692d.
alleges that Defendant Alltran is a “sophisticated debt
collection agency” that uses an “instrumentality
of interstate commerce or the mails” to collect
“debts owed or asserted to be owed[.]” (Doc. No.
15, Am. Compl. ¶¶ 7, 12.) According to Plaintiff,
on or around September 5, 2017, Alltran “directed that
Plaintiff be contacted in order to collect a debt, ”
and “every time calling Mitchell R. Hadler at
651.222.4260 to collect a consumer debt.” (Id.
¶ 13; see also Doc. No. 15-1, Plaintiff's
complaint letters attached to the Am. Compl.) Plaintiff
alleges upon information and belief that “the name of
Whelma Avila was mentioned.” (Id.) Plaintiff
does not allege how many calls were made but alleges that
“Plaintiff will establish the exact number of telephone
calls which is to be determined after discovery in this
case[.]” (Id. ¶ 13.01) Plaintiff does
allege, however, that “each time the voice answering
machine at the telephone called by Defendant announced that
the phone belonged to Mitchell Hadler and not Whelma
alleges that he “has no connection with Defendant at
any time whatsoever, other than having been contacted by
Defendant by telephone in Defendant's attempts to collect
an alleged debt[.]” (Doc. No. 15, Am. Compl. ¶
10.) Plaintiff also alleges that “the sole purpose of
Defendant's contacts with Plaintiff was to collect an
alleged debt, ” (id.; see also Id.
¶ 13.01), and that “Defendant's repeated
calling was intended to, and had the effect of harassing
Plaintiff.” (Id. ¶ 13.01.)
to Plaintiff, at some point, he requested that Defendant tell
him how his phone number was connected to a person named
Whelma Avila, and Defendant “refused to disclose
exactly how and why Defendant obtained Plaintiff's
telephone number.” (Id. ¶ 13.02.)
Plaintiff claims he “learned that the calling Defendant
was a collection agency, ” which led him to
“believe that perhaps his identity had been stolen,
” adding “stress and concern that substantial
money was wrongfully obtained in Plaintiff's name by
using false information about Plaintiff.” (Id.
¶ 13.03.) Plaintiff therefore sent Defendant complaints
on September 11 and September 25, 2017, “seeking
information about exactly how the Defendant obtained
Plaintiff's name, ” to which Defendant did not
respond. (Id. ¶¶ 13.04, 13.07.)
filed his Complaint against Defendant relating to these phone
calls on October 4, 2018. (Doc. No. 1.) Plaintiff thereafter
filed an Amended Complaint on November 1, 2018, which is the
operative complaint in this matter. (Doc. No. 15, Am. Compl.)
In his Amended Complaint, he brought five claims against
Defendant for violations of the FDCPA: (1) claim one for
engaging in harassing and abusive conduct in violation of 15
U.S.C. § 1692d; (2) claim two for placing calls with
intent to annoy, abuse, and harass in violation of 15 U.S.C.
§ 1692d(5); (3) claim three for failure to advise
Plaintiff of the debt by written notice in violation of 15
U.S.C. § 1692g; (4) claim four for failure to provide
meaningful disclosure of the caller's identity in
violation of 15 U.S.C. § 1692d(6); and (5) claim five
for failure to disclose that the call was from a debt
collector in violation of 15 U.S.C. § 1692e(11).
(See generally Doc. No. 15, Am. Compl.)
Standard of Review
survive a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, a
complaint must contain “enough facts to state a claim
to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atl.
v. Twombly, 500 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). This standard does
not require the inclusion of “detailed factual
allegations” in a pleading, but the complaint must
contain facts with enough specificity “to raise a right
to relief above the speculative level.” Id. at
555. This standard “calls for enough fact[s] to raise a
reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of
[the claim].” Id. at 556. In applying this
standard, the Court must assume the facts in the complaint to
be true and must construe all reasonable inferences from
those facts in the light most favorable to the plaintiff.
Gomez v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., 676 F.3d 655, 660
(8th Cir. 2012). But the Court need not give effect to those
allegations that simply assert legal conclusions. McAdams
v. McCord, 584 F.3d 1111, 1113 (8th Cir. 2009).
“Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of
action, supported by mere conclusory statements, ” are
not sufficient. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678
(2009) (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555).