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Rosales v. Unifund CCR Partners

December 5, 2008

ARMANDO C. ROSALES III, PLAINTIFF,
v.
UNIFUND CCR PARTNERS, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Samuel Der-Yeghiayan United States District Court Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

SAMUEL DER-YEGHIAYAN, District Judge

This matter is before the court on Defendants' motion to dismiss. For the reasons stated below, we grant the motion to dismiss and dismiss the remaining state law claims without prejudice.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Armando C. Rosales III ("Rosales") alleges that Defendant Unifund CCR Partners ("Unifund") is engaged in the business of collecting "charged-off debts" owed by consumers. (A. Compl. Par. 8). Defendant Credit Card Receivables Fund, Inc. and Defendant ZB Limited Partnership are allegedly general partners of Unifund. (A. Compl. Par. 17-18). Unifund allegedly pays only a minimal amount to purchase "charged-off debts" and does not "acquire documentation for each of the accounts, including in particular account agreements signed by the putative debtors."

(A. Comp. Par. 14). Rosales claims that in April 2008, Unifund brought an action against Rosales in Illinois state court ("State Action") "for the purpose of collecting three purported credit card debts incurred for personal, family or household purposes." (A. Comp. Par. 21). Unifund allegedly presented certain affidavits in the State Action, but the alleged declarants lacked the personal knowledge to support the affidavits. Rosales brought the instant action and includes in the complaint claims alleging that Unifund used false, deceptive, or misleading representations or means in connection with the collection of a debt in violation of 15 U.S.C. § 1692e of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act ("FDCPA"), 15 U.S.C. § 1601 et seq. (Count I), and claims alleging violations of the Illinois Collection Agency Act ("ICAA"), 225 ILCS 425/1 et seq. (Count II). Defendants now move to dismiss the instant action.

LEGAL STANDARD

In ruling on a motion to dismiss brought pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), the court must draw all reasonable inferences that favor the plaintiff, construe the allegations of the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, and accept as true all well-pleaded facts and allegations in the complaint. Thompson v. Ill. Dep't of Prof'l Regulation, 300 F.3d 750, 753 (7th Cir. 2002); Perkins v. Silverstein, 939 F.2d 463, 466 (7th Cir. 1991). In order to withstand a motion to dismiss, a complaint must allege the "operative facts" upon which each claim is based. Kyle v. Morton High Sch., 144 F.3d 448, 454-55 (7th Cir. 1998); Lucien v. Preiner, 967 F.2d 1166, 1168 (7th Cir. 1992). A plaintiff is required to include allegations in the complaint that "plausibly suggest that the plaintiff has a right to relief, raising that possibility above a 'speculative level'" and "if they do not, the plaintiff pleads itself out of court."

E.E.O.C. v. Concentra Health Services, Inc., 496 F.3d 773, 776 (7th Cir. 2007)(quoting in part Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1965 (2007)). Under the current notice pleading standard in federal courts a plaintiff need not "plead facts that, if true, establish each element of a 'cause of action. . . .'" See Sanjuan v. Amer. Bd. of Psychiatry and Neurology, Inc., 40 F.3d 247, 251 (7th Cir. 1994)(stating that "[a]t this stage the plaintiff receives the benefit of imagination, so long as the hypotheses are consistent with the complaint" and that "[m]atching facts against legal elements comes later"). The plaintiff need not allege all of the facts involved in the claim and can plead conclusions. Higgs v. Carver, 286 F.3d 437, 439 (7th Cir. 2002); Kyle, 144 F.3d at 455. However, any conclusions pled must "'provide the defendant with at least minimal notice of the claim,'" Kyle, 144 F.3d at 455(quoting Jackson v. Marion County, 66 F.3d 151, 153-54 (7th Cir. 1995)), and the plaintiff cannot satisfy federal pleading requirements merely "by attaching bare legal conclusions to narrated facts which fail to outline the bases of [his] claims." Perkins, 939 F.2d at 466-67. The Seventh Circuit has explained that "[o]ne pleads a 'claim for relief' by briefly describing the events." Sanjuan, 40 F.3d at 251; Nance v. Vieregge, 147 F.3d 589, 590 (7th Cir. 1998)(stating that "[p]laintiffs need not plead facts or legal theories; it is enough to set out a claim for relief").

DISCUSSION

I. FDCPA Claims (Count I)

Defendants move to dismiss the FDCPA claims. Defendants argue that the FDCPA was not intended to govern state court pleading requirements, and therefore, Rosales' attempt to portray the instant action as a FDCPA action is improper and this case should be dismissed. The premise of Rosales' case is that Unifund has a policy in regard to the affidavits that it attaches to its complaints in state court actions and that the policy does not comply with the FDCPA. Rosales claims that allegedly false allegations of personal knowledge in the affidavits submitted by Kim Kenney ("Kenney Affidavits"), the media supervisor of Unifund, violated 15 U.S.C. § 1692e of the FDCPA, which states that "[a] debt collector may not use any false, deceptive, or misleading representation or means in connection with the collection of any debt."

15 U.S.C. § 1692e. Debt collectors are prohibited from using "any false representation or deceptive means to collect or attempt to collect any debt or to obtain information concerning a consumer." 15 U.S.C. § 1692e(10).

Defendants argue that Rosales' assertion that the Kenney Affidavits are deficient due to Kenney's lack of personal knowledge is, at best, an argument on the part of Rosales that the affidavits are procedurally defective rather than containing false statements about debt and involve state law evidentiary issues. (Mem. Dis. 3); (Reply 2). Rosales maintains that Kenney's allegation of personal ...


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