United States District Court, N.D. Oklahoma
LINDA D. BEALE, an individual, o/b/o herself and all others similarly situated Plaintiff,
STEPHEN L. BRUCE, P.C., an Oklahoma professional corporation, Defendant.
OPINION AND ORDER
H. Payane United States District Judge
the Court is Defendant's Motion to Dismiss the Amended
Complaint for Failure to State a Claim for Relief Under
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) (Doc. No. 17). Plaintiff opposes the
Motion (Doc. No. 20). After consideration of the briefs, and
for the reasons stated below, Defendant's Motion to
Dismiss is GRANTED.
Linda D. Beale (“Plaintiff”) initiated this
purported class action to recover against Defendant Stephen
L. Bruce, P.C. (“Defendant”) for alleged
violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
(“FDCPA”), 15 U.S.C. § 1692 et seq.
According to the Amended Complaint, Plaintiff opened a credit
card account with Discover Bank “[s]ometime
prior” to initiating this lawsuit. (Doc. No. 15, ¶
6). Discover Bank retained Defendant to collect amounts
purportedly owed on Plaintiff's credit card account.
(Id. ¶ 7). In furtherance of its collection
activities, Defendant sent or caused to be sent to Plaintiff
a “dunning letter, ” which Plaintiff attaches to
her Amended Complaint as Exhibit “A.”
(Id. ¶¶ 8-9 & Ex. A).
alleges she was a “consumer” and Defendant was a
“debt collector” for FDCPA purposes.
(Id. ¶¶ 19, 22).
claims Defendant violated the disclosure provisions of 15
U.S.C. § 1692g(a) by inserting a sentence in the dunning
letter sent to Plaintiff:
If there is a valid reason for your failure to pay the sum,
please contact my office within the thirty (30) day period.
“Valid Reason Provision”). (Id.
¶¶ 24-25 & Ex. A). Specifically, Plaintiff
alleges “the least sophisticated consumer might believe
that the debt collector's obligation to obtain
verification of the debt or to provide the name and address
of the original creditor would only arise if the consumer
presented a valid reason for non-payment.”
(Id. ¶ 25). Plaintiff also refers to §
1692g(b), which prohibits collection of a disputed debt or
any disputed portion thereof until the debt collector obtains
verification of the debt or copy of any judgment, among other
information, and mails the information to the consumer.
(Id. ¶ 26). Plaintiff seeks statutory damages,
costs, and attorney's fees on her own behalf and on
behalf of a class of similarly situated persons in Tulsa
County, Oklahoma, who received similar letters. (Id.
¶¶ 11, 28-29).
now moves to dismiss the Amended Complaint pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) for failure to state
a claim for relief (Doc. No. 17). Plaintiff filed a Response
in opposition (Doc. No. 20), and Defendant filed a Reply
(Doc. No. 21). Defendant's motion is fully briefed and
ripe for review.
considering a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the court must accept all
well-pleaded allegations of the complaint as true, and must
construe them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff.
See Anderson v. Merrill Lynch Pierce Fenner & Smith,
Inc., 521 F.3d 1278, 1284 (10th Cir. 2008). To withstand
a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain enough
allegations of fact “to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). The Tenth Circuit has
stated that “plausibility” in this context refers
“to the scope of the allegations in the complaint: if
they are so general that they encompass a wide swath of
conduct, much of it innocent, then the plaintiffs ‘have
not nudged their claims across the line from conceivable to
plausible.'” Robbins v. Oklahoma, 519 F.3d
1242, 1247 (10th Cir. 2008) (quoting Twombly, 550
U.S. at 569). A claim has facial plausibility when the
plaintiff pleads factual content that “allows the court
to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable
for the misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). The plaintiff bears the
burden to frame “a complaint with enough factual matter
(taken as true) to suggest” that he or she is entitled
to relief. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556. “A
pleading that offers ‘labels and conclusions' or a
formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action
will not do.' Nor does a complaint suffice if it tenders
‘naked assertion[s]' devoid of further factual
enhancement.'” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678
(quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, 557).
Violation of 15 U.S.C. § 1692g(a)
Plaintiff alleges Defendant violated 15 U.S.C. §1692g(a)
by including the Valid Reason Provision in the dunning ...