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Koller v. Midland Credit Management, Inc.

United States District Court, W.D. Missouri, Western Division

September 15, 2017

SHARLA KOLLER, Plaintiff,
v.
MIDLAND CREDIT MANAGEMENT, INC., Defendant.

          ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS

          GREG KAYS, CHIEF JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

         This case arises out of Defendant Midland Credit Management, Inc.'s (“MCM”) attempt to collect a debt incurred by Plaintiff Sharla Koller (“Plaintiff”). Plaintiff alleges MCM made a false or misleading representation to her and its communication overshadowed or was inconsistent with its disclosure of her right to dispute the debt, in violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”). 15 U.S.C. §§ 1692e, 1692g(b).

         Now pending before the Court is Defendant's Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim (Doc. 7). For the reasons set forth below, Defendant's motion is GRANTED.

         Standard

         A complaint may be dismissed if it fails “to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). A complaint must meet two conditions to survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion. First, it must “contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). While the complaint does not need detailed factual allegations, it must include “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). A “formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.” Id. at 555 (citations omitted). “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.” Ashcroft, 556 U.S. at 678. The plaintiff need not demonstrate the claim is probable, only that it is more than just possible. Id. In reviewing a motion to dismiss, the court assumes the facts alleged in the complaint are true and draws all reasonable inferences from those facts in the plaintiff's favor. Monson v. Drug Enforcement Admin., 589 F.3d 952, 961 (8th Cir. 2009). The court generally ignores materials outside the pleadings but may consider materials that are necessarily embraced by the pleadings. Miller v. Toxicology Lab. Inc., 688 F.3d 928, 931 (8th Cir. 2012); see also Gorog v. Best Buy Co., 760 F.3d 787, 791(8th Cir. 2014) (contract held to be embraced by complaint where plaintiff quoted from contract and contract was the sole basis for plaintiff's complaint).

         Background

         On December 21, 2016, MCM[1] sent Plaintiff a collection letter (the “Letter”).[2] Compl. ¶ 10 (Doc. 1-1); Letter (Doc. 1-1 at 10-11). It is titled “NOTICE OF NEW OWNERSHIP AND PRE-LEGAL REVIEW.” Letter at 1. The body of the Letter's first page states:

[MCM] is considering forwarding this account to an attorney in your state for possible litigation. However, such forwarding will not occur until after the expiration of the validation period described on the back of this letter. Upon receipt of this notice, please call to discuss your options.
If we don't hear from you or receive payment by 02-04-2017, we may proceed with forwarding this account to an attorney.
In addition to the validation rights described on the back of this letter, here are some possible options:
- Pay your full balance . . .
- Call us to see how to qualify for discounts and payment plans. . . .

Id. At the top of the Letter, in large font, is a direction to call MCM “by 02-04-2017 to Discuss Options.” Id. And, in the left margin, the Letter states in bold, “Once your account is paid: collection calls will stop on this account [and] collection letters will stop on this account, ” followed by, “Reply by 02-04-2017.” Id. The Court refers to this February 4, 2017, deadline as the “reply-by” deadline.

         At the bottom of the first page, the Letter directs the reader to “PLEASE SEE REVERSE SIDE FOR IMPORTANT DISCLOSURE INFORMATION.” Id. On the reverse, below a shaded table providing ...


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