United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
G. FLEISSIG UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
action for damages under the Fair Debt Collections Practices
Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1692, et seq.
(“FDCPA”), and the Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15
U.S.C. § l681, et seq. (“FCRA”), is
before the Court on the motion of Defendant Creditors Bureau
Associate's (“CBA”), to dismiss for lack of
personal jurisdiction, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(2). For the reasons set forth below,
CBA's motion will be granted.
a Missouri resident, filed this action in Missouri state
court from where it was removed to this Court based on
federal question jurisdiction. For purposes of CBA's
motion to dismiss, the record establishes the following. As
of the filing date of the action, Plaintiff Greg Clement is a
Missouri resident. CBA, a Georgia corporation, is a debt
collector under the FDCPA, and a furnisher of credit
information under the FCRA. Plaintiff alleges that CBA
reported inaccurate information to two consumer reporting
agencies, one a Georgia corporation and one an Illinois
corporation, about a “medical debt” Plaintiff
maintains he did not owe. Plaintiff alleges that he spoke
with CBA on the phone on or about December l2, 20l7, and that
during the call, CBA advised Plaintiff that if he paid his
debt it would help his credit and presented him with a
settlement offer good only for 30 days. When the parties
spoke again on or about December 23, 20l7, CBA advised
Plaintiff that the settlement offer would still be good in
February 2018. Plaintiff claims in Count I of his complaint
that these assertions were misrepresentations intended to
deceive Plaintiff into paying on the alleged debt, in
violation of FDCPA, 15 U.S.C. § l692e. Plaintiff further
alleges that the consumer reporting agencies told CBA that
Plaintiff disputed the debt, but CBA failed to respond to
reinvestigation requests and failed to supply accurate and
truthful information. Plaintiff claims in Count IV of the
complaint that this constituted a violation of the FCRA, 15
U.S.C. § 1681s-2(b). The other counts in the complaint
were against parties who have been voluntarily dismissed.
support of its motion to dismiss for lack of personal
jurisdiction, CBA submits the affidavit of its president,
Calder Willingham, who attests that CBA has no offices in
Missouri, is not incorporated in Missouri, and does not
purposefully conduct business in Missouri. Willingham further
attests that the debt at issue arose from medical services
that were obtained in Georgia, the address on the account at
issue is located in Georgia, and the telephone number for the
account contains a telephone area code for Georgia. He
attests that the two December 2017 telephone calls alleged in
Plaintiff's complaint were placed by Plaintiff to CBA.
ECF No. 17-1.
response, Plaintiff submits his own affidavit dated May 8,
2018, in which he states that he resides in St. Louis County,
Missouri, and that CBA's challenged collection and credit
reporting activity “was conducted while” he was
in St. Louis. Plaintiff further attests that while residing
in St. Louis, CBA called him multiple times to collect on the
alleged debt; that he spoke with CBA at least twice in
December 2017; and that during both those calls, CBA advised
him that it would call him back to follow up on collection of
the debt. ECF No. 21-1. Plaintiff maintains that these
contacts and the fact that he sustained damages in Missouri,
where he now resides, support this Court's personal
jurisdiction over CBA. He argues that the interest of
Missouri in providing a forum for its residents, and
Plaintiff's convenience would best be served to have the
matter remain in Missouri where he now resides, even if the
debt at issue arose in Georgia.
existence of subject matter jurisdiction under the FDCPA or
FCRA does not obviate the requirement for personal
jurisdiction over the defendant. Velez v. Portfolio
Recovery Assocs., Inc., 881 F.Supp.2d 1075, 1081 (E.D.
Mo. 2012) (FDCPA); Ratliff v. Celadon Trucking Servs.,
Inc., No. 17CV7163, 2018 WL 1911797, at *4 (N.D. Ill.
Apr. 23, 2018) (FCRA). To survive a motion to dismiss for
lack of personal jurisdiction, a plaintiff must make a prima
facie showing of personal jurisdiction by pleading facts
sufficient to support a “reasonable inference that the
defendant can be subjected to jurisdiction within the
state.” K-V Pharm. Co. v. J. Uriac & CIA,
S.A., 648 F.3d 588, 591-92 (8th Cir. 2011) (citations
omitted). The court must view the evidence in the light most
favorable to the party asserting personal jurisdiction.
Romak USA, Inc. v. Rich, 384 F.3d 979, 983 (8th Cir.
2004). Although the evidentiary showing required at the prima
facie stage is minimal, that showing must be supported by
affidavits and exhibits and not by the pleadings alone.
K-V Pharm. Co., 648 F.3d at 592. The party espousing
jurisdiction carries the ultimate burden of proof. Epps
v. Stewart Info. Servs. Corp., 327 F.3d 642, 646-47 (8th
are two types of personal jurisdiction - general and
specific. Here, Plaintiff only posits specific personal
jurisdiction, which arises when the defendant has purposely
directed its activities at the forum state, and the cause of
action relates to those activities. See, e.g., Pangaea v.
Flying Burrito, LLC, 647 F.3d 741, 745-46 (8th Cir.
2011). A court has personal jurisdiction over a non-resident
defendant if (1) the applicable state long-arm statute has
been satisfied, and (2) the exercise of jurisdiction comports
with the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
Kangas v. Kieffer, 495 Fed.Appx. 749, 750 (8th Cir.
2012) (FDCPA case).
Missouri, because the long-arm statute, Mo. Rev. Stat. §
506.500.1, confers jurisdiction to the fullest extent
permitted by the Due Process Clause, the inquiry into
personal jurisdiction “generally collapses into the
single question of whether personal jurisdiction comports
with constitutional due process.” Romack USA,
Inc., 384 F.3d at 984. “For a State to exercise
[specific personal] jurisdiction consistent with due process,
the defendant's suit-related conduct must create a
substantial connection with the forum State.”
Walden v. Fiore, 571 U.S. 277, 134 S.Ct. 1115, 1121
(2014) (citations omitted). The relationship between the
defendant and the forum state “must arise out of
contacts that the defendant himself creates with the forum
State.” Id. at 1222.
Court concludes that there is no basis to exercise personal
jurisdiction over CBA with respect to Plaintiff's FDCPA
claim. Although Plaintiff attests that CBA made multiple
calls to him in Missouri to collect the debt at issue, he
does not assert that any of these calls reached him, or
resulted in a conversation or voice message left by CBA.
Plaintiff does not dispute that he initiated the two calls in
December 2017. There are no other alleged contacts in
Missouri with respect to CBA's attempt to collect the
debt, other than Plaintiff's presence in Missouri and,
therefore, his sustaining the alleged damages in Missouri.
Indeed, Plaintiff has presented no evidence that CBA knew he
resided in Missouri. In sum, the Court finds that Plaintiff
has failed to make a prima facie showing that CBA is subject
to specific personal jurisdiction in Missouri with respect to
Plaintiff's FDCPA claim. See, e.g., Fitzgerald v.
Zakheim & LaVrar, P.A., 90 F.Supp.3d 867, 873 (D.
Court reaches the same conclusion with respect to
Plaintiff's FCRA claim against CBA. See Henkin v.
Gibraltar Private Bank & Tr. Co., No. CV 16-5452,
2018 WL 557866, at *4 (E.D.N.Y. Jan. 22, 2018) (finding no
personal jurisdiction with respect to a FCRA claim against a
furnisher of credit where the only connection of the action
to the forum state was the plaintiff's presence there and
hence his sustaining the alleged economic loss there);
Screen v. Equifax Info. Sys., 303 F.Supp.2d 685 (D.
Md. 2004) (finding the Alabama-based defendant had not
purposefully established contacts with Maryland because the
defendant had never directly contacted the plaintiff in
Maryland and had only sent a consumer dispute verification
form regarding the plaintiff to the credit reporting agency);
Chyba v. TXU Energy, No. 12-CV-0837 BEN NLS, 2012 WL
6608618, at *3 (S.D. Cal. Dec. 17, 2012) (finding no personal
jurisdiction over a nonresident defendant in an FCRA case
involving inaccurate credit reporting when the plaintiff
failed to establish the defendant made any contact with the
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that motion of
Defendant Creditors Bureau Associate's to dismiss for
lack of personal ...