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Hutton v. C.B. Accounts

August 3, 2010

ROSEANNE HUTTON, ON BEHALF OF HERSELF AND A CLASS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
C.B. ACCOUNTS, INC. DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Michael P. McCUSKEY Chief U.S. District Judge

OPINION

This cause is before the Court on Defendant's Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint (Motion) (d/e 9), Memorandum in Support of Motion to Dismiss (d/e 10), and Plaintiff's Response to Defendant's Motion to Dismiss (d/e 12). Also before the Court is Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to Cite Additional Authority (d/e 13), which is allowed.

The Motion is fully briefed and ripe for adjudication. For the reasons described below, the Motion is denied.

FACTS

According to the Complaint - Class Action (Complaint) (d/e 1), Plaintiff Roseanne Hutton resides in Springfield, Illinois. Defendant C.B. Accounts, Inc. is an Illinois corporation with a principal place of business in Peoria, Illinois. Defendant is a debt-collection agency that uses the telephone and mail to collect consumer debts owed to third parties.

On January 12, 2010, at 4:35 p.m., one of Defendant's representatives called Plaintiff. Plaintiff states that she owes "a health care debt, incurred for personal, family or household purposes and not for business purposes." Complaint, ¶ 9. Defendant's employee left the following message on Plaintiff's answering machine:

Urgent message. This message is for Roseanne Hutton. Roseanne, this is Kyeisha [ph] calling you. I need you to return my phone call. The number is 866 207 8464.

Complaint, ¶ 10. The return telephone number in the message belongs to Defendant. Plaintiff received several other similar messages from Defendant.

On March 2, 2010, Plaintiff filed this lawsuit on behalf of herself and a class of similarly situated individuals, alleging violations of the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), 15 U.S.C. §§ 1692 et seq. Specifically, Plaintiff claims that Defendant violated §§ 1692e, 1692e(11), and 1692d(6) of the FDCPA because the messages Defendant left on Plaintiff's answering machine failed to include the warning required by statute, and did not identify Defendant as a debt collector. Defendant then filed the Motion now before the Court.

LEGAL STANDARDS

Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), dismissal is proper where a complaint fails to state a claim on which relief can be granted. Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). The Federal Rules require only "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief," and allegations must be "simple, concise, and direct." Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2) & (d)(1). While a complaint need not contain detailed, specific factual allegations, it must contain sufficient facts to "state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). A claim is plausible if 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, __ U.S. __, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009). The Seventh Circuit has held that a claim is plausible on its face if it provides the defendant fair notice of what the claim is and the grounds upon which it rests. George v. Smith, 507 F.3d 605, 608 (7th Cir. 2007). Dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6) is appropriate when "the factual detail in a complaint [is] so sketchy that the complaint does not provide the type of notice of the claim to which the defendant is entitled under Rule 8." Airborne Beepers & Video, Inc. v. AT&T Mobility, LLC, 499 F.3d 663, 667 (7th Cir. 2007).

For purposes of a motion to dismiss, the Court accepts as true all well-pleaded factual allegations in a complaint. Hager v. City of West Peoria, 84 F.3d 865, 868-69 (7th Cir. 1996); Covington Court, Ltd. v. Village of Oak Brook, 77 F.3d 177, 178 (7th Cir. 1996). The Court views the facts in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, in this case, Plaintiff.

ANALYSIS

Defendant presents two arguments for dismissal, and the Court addresses ...


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