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Flowers v. South Western Motor Sales

October 14, 2008

SABRINA FLOWERS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
SOUTH WESTERN MOTOR SALES, INC. D/B/A TOYOTA SCION ON WESTERN, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: George M. Marovich United States District Judge

Judge George M. Marovich

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff Sabrina Flowers ("Flowers") filed against defendant South Western Motor Sales, Inc. d/b/a Toyota Scion on Western ("South Western" or "South Western Motors") a four-count amended complaint. Defendant has filed three separate motions to dismiss--one for each of the three counts it seeks to dismiss. For the reasons set forth below, the Court grants one of defendant's motions to dismiss and denies as moot the two remaining motions.

I. Background

For purposes of a motion to dismiss, the Court takes as true the allegations in plaintiff's complaint.

This case arises out of plaintiff Flowers's attempt to purchase a car from South Western Motors. When Flowers found a used car she liked, South Western's finance manager, Aaron Avant ("Avant") told Flowers that South Western could help her obtain financing for the car. Flowers signed a retail installment contract (which stated that Drive Financial Services ("Drive Financial") would provide the financing) and gave Avant a copy of a recent pay stub from her job. Flowers drove off in her newly-acquired car, and South Western Motors submitted Flowers's credit application to Drive Financial. Drive Financial contacted Flowers's employer to verify her salary.

Several weeks later, Flowers received an unwelcome surprise at work. Flowers was called into human resources and told she was being put on administrative leave for suspicion of having violated her employer's code of conduct. Her employer, in essence, accused her of having falsified her pay stub in an effort to obtain the car loan.

Flowers called Drive Financial. Drive informed Flowers that the pay stub was altered by the dealership, and plaintiff believes Avant altered it to make Flowers's income appear to be higher than it was. Ultimately, Drive Financial canceled the automobile financing.

A South Western employee, Michelle Wysogleel ("Wysogleel") called Flowers and asked her to return to South Western Motors to sign new financing papers. When Flowers arrived, Wysogleel told Flowers she could not leave with the car until she signed new papers. Flowers, instead, asked to return the car for a refund. South Western would not return to Flowers her entire deposit, so Flowers called the police. The police sent Flowers home with the car. Later, Flowers returned the car to South Western Motors, which returned all but $350 of Flowers's deposit.

Flowers filed against South Western Motors claims under the Illinois Consumer Fraud Act, the federal Equal Credit Opportunity Act and the Illinois Consumer Fraud Act. Plaintiff's final claim is for negligence. South Western Motors filed three separate motions to dismiss three of plaintiff's four counts.

II. Standard on a Motion to Dismiss

The Court may dismiss a claim pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure if the plaintiff fails "to state a claim upon which relief can be granted." Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). In considering a motion to dismiss, the Court accepts as true all well-pleaded factual allegations and draws all reasonable inferences in the plaintiffs' favor. McCullah v. Gadert, 344 F.3d 655, 657 (7th Cir. 2003). Under the notice-pleading requirements of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a complaint must "give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombley, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1964 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)). A complaint need not provide detailed factual allegations, but mere conclusions and a "formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action" will not suffice. Twombley, 127 S.Ct. at 1964-1965. A complaint must include enough factual allegations to "raise a right to relief above a speculative level." Twombley, 127 S.Ct. at 1965. "After Bell Atlantic, it is no longer sufficient for a complaint 'to avoid foreclosing possible bases for relief; it must actually suggest that the plaintiff has a right to relief, by providing allegations that raise a right to relief above the speculative level.'" Tamayo v. Blagojevich, 526 F.3d 1074, 1084 (7th Cir. 2008) (quoting Equal Employment Opportunity Comm'n v. Concentra Health Services, Inc., 496 F.3d 773, 776 (7th Cir. 2007)).

III. Discussion

A. Plaintiff's claim under the Equal Credit ...


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