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Jean-Louis v. Warfield

United States District Court, E.D. New York

October 6, 2012

Macx L. JEAN-LOUIS, Plaintiff,
v.
Hunter WARFIELD and Middlebrook Farms Apartments, Defendants.

Page 571

Macx L. Jean-Louis, Bellmore, NY, pro se.

Mound Cotton Wollan & Greengrass, by: Kenneth M. Labbate, Esq., Of Counsel, New York, NY, for the defendant Hunter Warfield.

Womble Carlyle, by: Robert S. Pierce, Esq., Of Counsel, Winston Salem, NC, for defendant Middlebrook Farms Apartments.

MEMORANDUM OF DECISION AND ORDER

SPATT, District Judge.

On March 19, 2012, pro se plaintiff and attorney, Macx L. Jean-Louis (" the Plaintiff" ) commenced this action by filing a Complaint against defendants Hunter Warfield and Middlebrook Farms Apartments (" Middlebrook" and, collectively, " the Defendants" ), seeking injunctive relief, actual and punitive damages and courts costs for alleged violations of the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (" the FCRA" ), the New York Fair Credit Reporting Act (" the NYFCRA" ), the New York State Consumer Protection Act (" the NYSCPA" ) and the New York Human Rights Law (" the NYHRL" ). The Plaintiff claimed that he did not owe one month's back rent and late fees and that the Defendants violated the aforementioned federal and state laws by attempting to collect said back rent from him.

Presently before the Court is a motion by the defendant Middlebrook to dismiss the complaint pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (" Fed. R. Civ. P." ) 12(b)(5) and 12(b)(6) for insufficient service of process and for failure to state a claim. For the reasons set forth below, the motion is granted.

I. BACKGROUND

A. Background

The following facts are derived from (1) the Plaintiff's Complaint, filed on April 23,

Page 572

2012, and (2) the Apartment Lease Contract entered into by the Plaintiff and the defendant Middlebrook on October 3, 2009 (" the Apartment Lease Contract" ). This contract was attached to the defendant Middlebrook's moving papers and the Plaintiff's papers in opposition and was incorporated in the Plaintiff's Complaint by reference. In the resolution of these motions, the facts are construed in the light most favorable to the Plaintiff.

The Plaintiff is an immigration attorney who maintains his principal office in New York, but frequently travels to the Orlando area in Florida in order to assist his clients with their immigration court cases. On or about October 3, 2009, the Plaintiff entered into a lease agreement with the defendant Middlebrook for an apartment in Orlando, Florida (" the Orlando apartment" ). The Plaintiff maintains that the lease was for one year, starting on October 1, 2009 and ending on September 30, 2010. However, the express terms of the Apartment Lease Contract stated that " [t]he initial term of the Lease Contract begins on the 3rd day of October 2009, and ends at midnight the 31st day of October, 2010." (Pl. Opp., Exhibit 1.) The Apartment Lease Contract indicated it would " automatically renew month-to-month unless either party [gave] at least 60 days written notice of termination or intent to move-out" and that moving out without paying rent in full for the entire lease term or renewal period would result in liability " for all rent owed at the time," which would " become[ ] due under the terms of [the] lease agreement until the apartment [was] re-rented ...." (Pl. Opp., Exhibit 1.)

According to the Apartment Lease Contract, the Plaintiff's monthly rent was $708.00, which the Plaintiff was required to pay on or before the first day of each month. Failure to pay the monthly rent by the fourth day of the month would result in an initial late charge of $50.00 plus a late charge of $5.00 per day after that for no more than 15 days or until the rent was paid in full. The Apartment Lease Contract indicated that the Plaintiff would be considered in " default" if he did not pay his rent when it was due and warned that the defendant Middlebrook " may report unpaid amounts to credit agencies." The Apartment Lease Contract stipulated that it was the entire agreement between the Plaintiff and the defendant Middlebrook and that the defendant Middlebrook's representatives had " no authority to waive, amend, or terminate this Lease Contract or any part of it, unless in writing...."

The Plaintiff used the Orlando apartment only two times a month and the duration of each of his stays was about three days. The Plaintiff alleges that at some time in February 2010, knowing that the Plaintiff was not using the Orlando apartment, the defendant Middlebrook and its employees went in and stole the Plaintiff's Bose Stereo system, flat panel television, CD case containing about 120 disks and other personal items. Despite this, the Plaintiff did not move out of the Orlando apartment until September 28, 2010, two days short of September 30, 2010, which the Plaintiff claims was the date the Apartment Lease Contract expired.

Consequently, according to the Plaintiff, the defendant Middlebrook was unhappy that the Plaintiff decided to move out of the Orlando apartment and, therefore, wrongfully maintained that the Apartment Lease Contract expired on October 31, 2010, not September 30, 2010, which would entitle them to another rent payment for the month of October 2010. In order to collect this debt, the defendant Middlebrook referred the Plaintiff's personal information to the defendant Hunter Warfield for collection.

Page 573

The defendant Hunter Warfield made an inquiry into the Plaintiff's credit history on or about March 22, 2011, without the Plaintiff's authorization or consent. The Plaintiff alleges that at some point the defendant Hunter Warfield used the Plaintiff's personal information to apply for a credit card from Sears corporation in the Plaintiff's name, but failed to do so because they could not provide a current phone number for the Plaintiff.

B. Procedural History and the Instant Motion

On April 23, 2012, the Plaintiff commenced this action by filing the Complaint in the Eastern District of New York. The Plaintiff sought injunctive relief, actual and punitive damages and courts costs for alleged violations of the FCRA and New York law. The Plaintiff's claims for relief relied on his assertion that the Defendants were pursuing an " imaginary debt" and disseminating credit information that they knew was inaccurate. ...


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