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Padilla v. Clovis & Roche

November 29, 2007

CHERRY PADILLA AND JUAN LEON PADILLA II, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
CLOVIS & ROCHE, INC; ALVIN RUSSELL; GLOBAL HEALTHCARE RESOURCES, INC; AND DENNIS LIGHT, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Thomas J. McAVOY, Senior United States District Judge

DECISION & ORDER

I. INTRODUCTION

Plaintiffs commenced this action asserting claims under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act ("FDCPA"), 15 U.S.C. § 1692 et seq., and New York State law. See Compl. [dkt. # 1]. Plaintiffs invoke the Court's federal question, diversity of citizenship, and supplemental subject matter jurisdictional grants. Id. ¶¶ 3-6. Defendants Global Healthcare Resources, Inc. ("Global") and Dennis Light ("Light") filed an Answer with counterclaims and a cross-claim. See Ans. [dkt. # 23]. The counterclaims sound in breach of contract and unjust enrichment. Id. ¶¶ 43-49.

Plaintiffs move pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(1) to dismiss Global and Light's counterclaims, contending that the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over the counterclaims or, alternatively, that the Court should decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the counterclaims. Global and Light have opposed the motion.

II. Standard of Review

On a motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(1), the Court must assume as true factual allegations in the pleading sought to be dismissed. Shipping Financial Services Corp. v. Drakos, 140 F.3d 129, 131 (2d Cir. 1998). The Court may look to and may consider matters outside the pleadings in deciding such a motion. Filetech S.A. v. France Telecom, S.A., 157 F.3d 922, 932 (2d Cir. 1998); John Street Leasehold, LLC v. Capital Mgt. Res., L.P., 2001 WL 310629, at *2 (S.D.N.Y. March 29, 2001). "Thus, the standard used to evaluate a Rule 12(b)(1) motion is similar to that used for summary judgment under Fed. R. Civ. P. 56." Lopresti v. Merson, 2001 WL 1132051, at *5 (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 21, 2001).

III. Background

Cherry Padilla was a nurse living in the Philippines who sought to obtain employment in the United States. Global, which appears to be involved in international recruiting of healthcare workers, entered into an agreement with Ms. Padilla that would allow her "the opportunity to work in the Untied States and possibly earn citizenship." Ans. ¶ 43. Pursuant to this agreement, Global paid the expenses for Ms. Padilla and her family "to come to the United States including airfare" and paid Plaintiffs' "[Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS)] fees, legal fees, and recruiter fees." Id. ¶ 44.*fn1 Ms. Padilla agreed (a) to work at a designated hospital in the United States for a specified period of time, and (b) to reimburse Global for the monies it paid on her behalf if she failed to work at a designated hospital for the agreed upon period of time. Id. ¶ 45.

Ms. Padilla, her husband, and her son relocated to the United States and she began working as a nurse at the Benedictine Hospital in Kingston, New York on April 11, 2005. See Compl. ¶ 25. Benedictine Hospital was a designated hospital within the meaning of the agreement between Ms. Padilla and Global. Ans. ¶ 45. On September 7, 2005, Ms. Padilla was terminated from her position at Benedictine Hospital and, according to Global and Light, failed to cooperate with them for placement at another designated hospital. See Ans. ¶ 45; Compl. ¶ 30.*fn2 Global sent Ms. Padilla a letter demanding payment of the monies it paid for her and her family's relocation to the United States. Ms. Padilla made a payment to Global but did not pay the full amount demanded.*fn3

On August 21, 2006, Light, on behalf of Global, sent a second letter to Ms. Padilla demanding that she apply to work for a designated hospital or pay Global the amount it contended it was owed. Compl. ¶ 38. Light stated in the letter that if Ms. Padilla did not do so, he would "(1) advise the INS for deportation; (2) advise the INS that there are ethical questions that should be considered should [Ms. Padilla] request citizenship; (3) advise the State Board of Nursing of New York of ethics violations due to the fact that [Ms. Padilla] ha[d] failed to work with [him] in a new placement or at least agreed to repay the expenses incurred for [Ms. Padillia]." Compl. ¶ 41 (brackets in original).

Sometime thereafter, Global placed the debt with Defendant Clovis & Roche, Inc. ("Clovis & Roche") for collection. Id. ¶ 45. Clovis & Roche, through Defendant Alvin Russell ("Russell"), continued to assert Global and Light's position that the INS and the State Board of Nursing of New York would be notified of Ms. Padilla's conduct. Id. ¶¶ 45-55.

Plaintiffs commenced this action asserting (1) FDCPA claims against Clovis & Roche and Russell, Compl. ¶¶ 79-81, (2) common law claims of intentional infliction of emotional distress and fraud against all defendants, id. ¶¶ 82-93, (3) common law claims of negligence and gross negligence against Global and Light, id. ¶¶ 94-97, (4) common law claims of negligence and gross negligence against Clovis & Roche, id. ¶¶ 98-104, and (5) claims of deceptive business practices under New York Business Law § 349 against Clovis & Roche and Russell. Id. ¶¶ 105-109. As indicated above, Global and Light filed counterclaims against Plaintiffs sounding in breach of contract and unjust enrichment. Ans. ¶¶ 43-49. This motion followed.

VI. DISCUSSION

a. Lack of Jurisdiction to Entertain State Law ...


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