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Hunter v. Capital Management Services, LP

United States District Court, Second Circuit

December 19, 2013

JOANN HUNTER, Plaintiff,
v.
CAPITAL MANAGEMENT SERVICES, LP, and BARCLAYS BANK DELAWARE, Defendants.

JOHN T. CURTIN, District Judge.

Plaintiff JoAnn Hunter commenced this action against Capital Management Services, LP ("CMS") and Barclays Bank Delaware ("Barclays") for breach of contract, breach of implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, common law fraud, and the violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act ("FDCPA"), 15 U.S.C. §§ 1692, et seq. See Item 14 (Amended Complaint). Presently before the court is defendants' joint motion to dismiss pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Item 15.

BACKGROUND

On June 17, 2013, plaintiff commenced this action with the filing of a summons and complaint in New York State Supreme Court, Erie County Item 1-1. Defendants removed the case to this court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1441 and 1331, by Notice of Removal dated July 10, 2013. Item 1. In lieu of an answer, on July 19, 2013, defendants filed a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim. Item 7.

Thereafter, on July 31, 2013, plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint, withdrawing the fraud claim and the factual allegations in support thereof. Item 14. On August 13, 2013, defendants jointly moved to dismiss plaintiffs Amended Complaint, arguing that plaintiff has failed to allege the existence of a contract. Item 15. On September 4, 2013, plaintiff filed a response in opposition to defendant's motion to dismiss. Item 23. Defendants filed a reply in support of their motion on September 30, 2013. Item 24. The court has determined that oral argument is not necessary. For the reasons that follow, the motion to dismiss is denied.

FACTS

All of plaintiff's claims arise from the same facts. Plaintiff owes a consumer debt to Barclays that is currently in default for nonpayment. Item 14, ¶ 8. In an effort to recover the amount that plaintiff owed, Barclays enlisted CMS, a third party debt collection agency, to recover the account. Id., ¶ 7. On Barclays' behalf, CMS reached an agreement to settle this debt with plaintiff for less than the full value. In a letter dated June 10, 2013, CMS conveyed the following offer to plaintiff:

As representatives of our client, Barclay Bank Delaware, Capital Management Services, LP is authorized to accept less than the full amount. The settlement is in the amount of $1, 894.29. The first part of $631.43 is due by 06/25/13. The second part in the amount of $631.43 is due by 07/25/13. The final part in the amount of $631.43 is due by 08/24/13.

Id., ¶ 10. This proposal was communicated to plaintiff on a document generated by CMS entitled "settlement offer." Item 22-1. Then, on or about June 10, 2013, plaintiff sent CMS a payment of $631.43 to satisfy the first installment of this agreement. Id., ¶ 12. However, CMS refused to accept this payment and to accept any future payment from plaintiff, effectively revoking the settlement offer. Id., ¶¶ 15-16.

In opposition to the motion, plaintiff submitted the letter dated June 10, 2013 from CMS. Item 22-1. Additionally, she submitted a declaration of Kevin Rice, customer service and negotiations manager for National Debt relief ("NDR"), a debt settlement company. Item 23.[1] Mr. Rice stated that he negotiated a settlement of plaintiff's debt with CMS and reached an agreement on June 10, 2013. Id., ¶ 4. The terms of the settlement agreement were reduced to writing and faxed to NDR that day. On June 10, 2013, plaintiff made the first payment, in acceptance of the offer. Id., ¶ 5. On June 13, 2013, a representative of CMS informed NDR that the account had been recalled and that CMS and Barclays would not accept plaintiff's payment. Id., ¶ 6.

DISCUSSION

1. Standard on a Motion to Dismiss

In reviewing a motion to dismiss pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), the court must accept the factual allegations set forth in the complaint as true and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff. See Cleveland v. Caplaw Enters., 448 F.3d 518, 521 (2d Cir. 2006); Nechis v. Oxford Health Plans, Inc., 421 F.3d 96, 100 (2d Cir. 2005). "In order to survive a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), a complaint must allege a plausible set of facts sufficient to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.'" Operating Local 649 Annuity Trust Fund v. Smith Barney Fund Mgmt. LLC, 595 F.3d 86, 91 (2d Cir. 2010) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). This standard does not require "heightened fact pleading of specifics, but only enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570.

In Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009), the Supreme Court instructed district courts to first "identify[ ] pleadings that, because they are no more than conclusions, are not entitled to the assumption of truth." Id. at 679 (explaining that though "legal conclusions can provide the framework of a complaint, they must be supported by factual allegations"). Second, if a complaint contains "well-pleaded factual allegations, a court should assume their veracity and then determine whether they plausibly give rise to an entitlement to relief." Id. A claim has "facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged. The plausibility standard is not akin ...


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