United States District Court, E.D. New York
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
GLASSER, Senior United States District Judge
Josanne Jones commenced this action on behalf of herself and
others similarly situated against Professional Claims Bureau,
Inc. (“PCB”), the Defendant, seeking damages,
declaratory, and injunctive relief for alleged violations of
the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”),
15 U.S.C. § 1692 et seq. Pending before the
Court is PCB's motion for judgment on the pleadings
pursuant to Rule 12(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure, which Plaintiff opposes. For the reasons set forth
herein, Defendant's motion is GRANTED.
PCB is in the business of collecting debts owed to others.
ECF 1, (“Compl.”) ¶¶ 3, 5. Plaintiff
Jones is a resident of New York who incurred a debt for
medical services. Id. ¶¶ 2, 31. On or
about December 30, 2015, PCB mailed a letter to the Plaintiff
seeking to recover on the unpaid financial obligation.
Id. ¶ 9. This letter reads in part, “THIS
ACCOUNT IS SERIOUSLY PAST DUE, ” and “[i]t is
extremely important that you resolve this past due account
and we suggest that you contact our offices via telephone or
mail immediately.” Id. ¶¶ 24-26. The
letter further states that “payment is expected within
10 days of this notice. If this account is not resolved, we
will assume that you have no intention of settling this
outstanding debt.” Id. ¶ 27. Finally, the
letter concludes, “We are here to help you, as our
client was there to help you in your time of need.”
Id. ¶ 28.
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c) provides that “[a]fter
the pleadings are closed-but early enough not to delay a
trial-a party may move for judgment on the pleadings.”
In deciding a 12(c) motion, the Court applies the same
standard applicable to dismissals pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P.
12(b)(6). Hayden v. Paterson, 594 F.3d 150, 160 (2d
Cir. 2010). To survive a 12(c) motion, Plaintiffs must plead
“sufficient factual matter, accepted as true” to
state a claim that is plausible on its face, from which the
Court can draw the reasonable inference that the Defendant is
liable for the misconduct alleged. Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
FDCPA was enacted in response to a “serious national
problem” of debt collection abuse, “including
obscene or profane language, threats of violence, telephone
calls at unreasonable hours, misrepresentation of a
consumer's legal rights, disclosing a consumer's
personal affairs to friends, neighbors, or an employer,
obtaining information about a consumer through false
pretense, impersonating public officials and attorneys, and
simulating legal process.” S. REP. 95-382, 2, 1977
U.S.C.C.A.N. 1695, 1696. The enacted purpose of the statute
was to eliminate such “abusive debt collection
practices.” 15 U.S.C. § 1692(e). In pursuit of its
objective, the statute restricts, inter alia, the
use of false or misleading representations and the harassment
or abuse of any person in connection with collection of a
debt, and broadly prohibits “unfair” and
“unconscionable” debt collection practices.
See §§ 1692d, 1692e, 1692f.
analyzing whether a particular communication runs afoul of
the FDCPA, courts apply an objective “least
sophisticated consumer” standard. Greco v. Trauner,
Cohen & Thomas, L.L.P., 412 F.3d 360, 363 (2d Cir.
2005) (citation omitted). In so doing, a defendant's
communication is viewed “from the perspective of a
debtor who is uninformed, naïve, or trusting, but is
making basic, reasonable and logical deductions and
inferences.” Dewees v. Legal Servicing, LLC,
506 F.Supp.2d 128, 132 (E.D.N.Y. 2007). “It should be
emphasized that in crafting a norm that protects the naive
and the credulous the courts have carefully preserved the
concept of reasonableness.” Clomon v. Jackson,
988 F.2d 1314, 1319 (2d Cir. 1993)
recover under the FDCPA, a plaintiff must satisfy three
threshold requirements: (1) the plaintiff must be a
“consumer, ” (2) the defendant must be a
“debt collector;” and (3) the defendant must have
committed some act or omission in violation of the FDCPA.
Oscar v. Prof'l Claims Bureau, Inc., No.
CV11-5319 SJF WDW, 2012 WL 2367128, at *3 (E.D.N.Y. June 1,
2012), report and recommendation adopted, No.
CV-11-5319 SJF WDW, 2012 WL 2367136 (E.D.N.Y. June 19, 2012).
The parties do not dispute the satisfaction of the first two
requirements. With respect to the third, Plaintiff alleges
that PCB's letter to Ms. Jones violated §§
1692d, 1692e, and 1692f of the FDCPA.
decision in Oscar informs the conclusions to follow.
In that case, PCB, Defendant here, responded to an analogous
complaint alleging FDCPA violations stemming from a debt
collection letter. As here, the letter stated that
“Payment is expected within 10 Days of this
notice.” As the letter continued, “If this
account is not resolved, we will assume you have no intention
of settling this outstanding debt and will notify our client
of this.” Id. at 1. As here, the plaintiffs in
Oscar contended that the letter disgraced the
reader, was false and misleading, and was unfair and
unconscionable in contravention of the FDCPA. In dismissing
claims brought pursuant to 15 U.S.C. §§ 1692e and
1692f, the Oscar court noted that plaintiffs
submitted little more than the text of the letter alongside
conclusory allegations as to how the letter violated the
statute. Id. at 3-4. Plaintiff here has similarly
failed to state a claim.
15 U.S.C. ...