United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
C. COLLINS UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
matter is before the Court on Defendant Sansone Law,
LLC’s Motion to Dismiss Count I of Plaintiff Mary
Campbell’s First Amended Complaint (Doc. 12). The
Motion is fully briefed and ready for disposition. The
parties have consented to the jurisdiction of the undersigned
United States Magistrate Judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
636(c)(1) (Doc. 9). For the following reasons,
Defendant’s Motion will be GRANTED, in part.
Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires “a short and
plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is
entitled to relief.” Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6) provides for a motion to dismiss based on the
“failure to state a claim upon which relief can be
granted.” To survive a motion to dismiss a complaint
must show “ ‘that the pleader is entitled to
relief, ’ in order to ‘give the defendant fair
notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which
it rests.’ ” Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quoting Conley v.
Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)). “Threadbare
recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by
mere conclusory statements, do not suffice” to defeat a
motion to dismiss. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009) (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555).
“[O]nly a complaint that states a plausible claim for
relief survives a motion to dismiss.” Iqbal,
556 U.S. at 679 (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). The
pleading standard of Rule 8 “does not require
‘detailed factual allegations, ’ but it demands
more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me
accusation.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). “When ruling on a
defendant's motion to dismiss, a judge must accept as
true all of the factual allegations contained in the
complaint.” Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89,
94 (2007). All reasonable references from the complaint must
be drawn in favor of the nonmoving party. Schaaf v.
Residential Funding Corp., 517 F .3d 544, 549 (8th Cir.
Mary Campbell f/k/a Mary Hobart (“Campbell”)
brings this action for statutory and actual damages pursuant
to the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act
(“FDCPA”), 15 U.S.C. §§1692, et
seq. (Doc. 11). Defendant Sansone Law, LLC
(“Sansone”) is a debt collector (Id.
¶ 5). On June 10, 2015, Campbell was served with a
summons and petition filed against her on behalf of J&M
Securities, LLC (“J&M Securities”) to collect
unpaid rent debt (Id. ¶ 6). J&M
Securities, LLC v. Mary J. Hobart, Case No. 15SL-AC15192
(hereinafter the “St. Louis County lawsuit”). Ben
Sansone was the attorney of record for J&M Securities in
the St. Louis County lawsuit (Id. ¶ 8).
Campbell was also represented by counsel in the St. Louis
County lawsuit (Id. ¶ 9). Campbell’s
counsel sent J&M Securities written discovery requests
via email (Id. ¶ 10). During a case management
conference in the St. Louis County lawsuit, Sansone, on
behalf of J&M Securities, took a default judgment against
Campbell (Id. ¶¶ 11-12). J&M
Securities did not inform the court that Campbell was
represented by counsel (Id. ¶ 13). The St.
Louis County lawsuit was subsequently dismissed with
prejudice (Id. ¶ 16). However, the default
judgment is still being reported on Campbell’s credit
report as an active judgment (Id. ¶ 18).
St. Louis County lawsuit, Sansone provided a 1692g notice
(“Notice”) to Campbell that stated, in part:
Unless you, the defendant, dispute the validity of the debt
within 30 days of receipt of this notice, the debt will
assume [sic] to be valid by the undersigned attorneys. If you
notify the undersigned attorney in writing within this 30 day
period that the debt or any portion thereof is disputed, the
undersigned will obtain verification of plaintiff’s
position and mail it to you.
(Id. ¶ 22).
First Amended Complaint, Campbell alleges the following
specific violations of the FDCPA: (1) attempting to collect
an amount not authorized by agreement in violation of 15
U.S.C. § 1692f(1); and (2) engaging in false, deceptive
and misleading means in connection with debt collection in
violation of 15 U.S.C. § 1692e preface and §
1692e(10). Sansone moves to dismiss both claims and
additionally seeks to dismiss any possible claims under
§ 1692d, § 1692f, and § 1692g. Although
Sansone moves to dismiss Campbell’s § 1692d and
§ 1692f claims, no such claims were included in the
First Amended Complaint and, therefore, Defendant’s
argument regarding these claims will not be
discussed. Although Campbell cites to § 1692g
elsewhere in her First Amended Complaint, she specifically
disavows the claim in her response. Accordingly, the Court will
also not address any potential § 1692g claim.
U.S.C. § 1692f(1)
first asserts Sansone violated § 1692f(1) by attempting
to collect an amount not authorized by agreement. Section
§ 1692f(1) prohibits “[t]he collection of any
amount (including any interest, fee, charge, or expense
incidental to the principal obligation) unless such amount is
expressly authorized by the agreement creating the debt or
permitted by law.” Campbell’s § 1692f(1)
claim against Sansone stems from the fact that J&M
Securities was granted a default judgment for the principal
amount of the debt, attorney’s fees, court costs, and
interest: “Plaintiff’s injury resulted from
Sansone’s deceptive and misleading conduct in taking a
default judgment against a represented [party] who intended
to defend the St. Louis County lawsuit” (Doc. 14 at 5).
Sansone asserts that Campbell’s claim is barred by the
Rooker-Feldman doctrine deprives federal district courts of
subject matter jurisdiction in actions seeking review and
reversal of state court judgments. Skit Int'l, Ltd.
v. DAC Techs. of Ark., Inc.,487 F.3d 1154, 1157 (8th
Cir. 2007); see District of Columbia Court of Appeals v.
Feldman,460 U.S. 462 (1983); Rooker v. Fidelity Tr.
Co.,263 U.S. 413 (1923). Thus, “[i]f a federal
plaintiff asserts as a legal wrong an allegedly erroneous
decision by a state court, and seeks relief from a state
court judgment based on that decision, Rooker-Feldman bars
subject matter jurisdiction in federal district court.”
Riehm v. Engelking,538 F.3d 952, 965 (8th Cir.
2008). “If, on the other hand, a federal plaintiff
asserts as a legal wrong an allegedly illegal act or omission
by an adverse party, Rooker-Feldman does not bar
jurisdiction.” Id. Consequently,
Rooker-Feldman does not bar an FDCPA claim
challenging a defendant's debt collection practices, to
the extent such practices do not implicate a state court
judgment. But it bars claims that would either directly or
“ ‘effectively reverse the state court decision
or void its ruling.’ ” Kramer & Frank,
P.C. v. Wibbenmeyer, No. 4:05-CV-2395-RWS, 2007 WL
956931, at *1 (E.D. Mo. Mar. 6, 2007) (quoting Charchenko