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Karas v. Pittenger Law Group, LLC

United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division

March 19, 2018

SCOTT KARAS, Plaintiff,
v.
PITTENGER LAW GROUP, LLC, Defendant,

          OPINION, MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          HENRY EDWARD AUTREY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on Defendant's Motion to Dismiss, [Doc. No. 4]. Plaintiff opposes the Motion. For the reasons set forth below, the Motion is granted.

         Facts and Background[1]

         Plaintiff filed this action in the Associate Circuit Court of St. Charles County, Missouri alleging that Defendant violated Section 1692e of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act by filing a lawsuit in violation of an Arbitration Agreement and Waiver of Jury Trial entered into by the parties. Defendant removed the matter to this Court based on the Court's federal question jurisdiction. 28 U.S.C. § 1331.

         Plaintiff's Petition alleges the following:

         On December 22, 2016, Defendant filed a lawsuit against Plaintiff in the Associate Division of the Circuit Court of St. Charles County. The lawsuit alleges that Plaintiff executed and delivered to the Plaintiff in that case, OneMain Financial Services, Inc. a promissory note on November 19, 2013, in the sum of $2, 676.75, plus interest. The promissory note included an arbitration agreement and waiver of jury trial:

Under this agreement, both lender and I are voluntarily waiving any right to a jury or judge trial of all claims and disputes covered by this arbitration agreement and waiver of jury trial (“this Arbitration Agreement”) to the fullest extent permitted by law.
The Arbitration Agreement also contains a section labeled MATTERS NOT
COVERED BY ARBITRATION:
Instead of pursuing arbitration, either Lender or I also have the option to bring a lawsuit in court to seek to recover the monetary jurisdictional limit of a small claims or equivalent court in my state (including costs and attorneys' fees), provided that no relief other than such recovery is requested in such lawsuit.

         Plaintiff alleges that the Missouri jurisdictional small claims amount is $5, 000, that Defendant's suit seeks the sum of $2, 676.75 plus interest. Plaintiff further alleges that the filing of the lawsuit by Defendant on behalf of One Main violates the Arbitration Agreement, therefore, Defendant violated the FDCPA by taking legal action that cannot be taken.

         Standard of Review

         On a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), the Court accepts as true the factual allegations in the complaint and construes all reasonable inferences arising therefrom most favorably to the plaintiff. Hager v. Ark. Dep't of Health, 735 F.3d 1009, 1013 (8th Cir. 2013) (citing Gross v. Weber, 186 F.3d 1089, 1090 (8th Cir. 1999)). The Court, however, need not accept as true wholly conclusory allegations, Hanten v. Sch. Dist. of Riverview Gardens, 183 F.3d 799, 805 (8th Cir. 1999), or legal conclusions that plaintiffs draw from the facts pled. Westcott v. City of Omaha, 901 F.2d 1486, 1488 (8th Cir. 1990). In addition, the Court ordinarily does not consider matters outside the pleadings on a motion to dismiss. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(d). The Court may, however, consider exhibits attached to the complaint and documents that are necessarily embraced by the pleadings, Mattes v. ABC Plastics, Inc., 323 F.3d 695, 697 n.4 (8th Cir. 2003), and may also consider public records, Levy v. Ohl, 477 F.3d 988, 991 (8th Cir. 2007).

         To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain “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). Although a complaint need not contain “detailed factual allegations, ” it must contain facts with enough specificity “to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.” Id. at 555. “Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). In ...


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