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Lantry v. Client Services, Inc.

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

August 2, 2019

DESIRAE LANTRY, individually, and on behalf of all others similarly situated Plaintiff,
v.
CLIENT SERVICES, INC. Defendant.

          ORDER AND MEMORANDUM

          RODNEY W. SIPPEL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter is before me on Defendant Client Services, Inc.'s (CSI) Motion for a Judgment on the Pleadings. Plaintiff Desirae Lantry, on behalf of a putative class, filed a multi-count amended complaint against CSI alleging that it sent a debt collection letter containing multiple violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. §§ 1692 et seq. (“FDCPA”). CSI answered the Amended Complaint and filed its motion for judgment on the pleadings shortly thereafter. For the reasons that follow, I will grant CSI's motion and dismiss Lantry's Amended Complaint.

         I. Background

         This case centers on a letter that CSI sent to Lantry in order to collect a debt that Lantry allegedly owed to Chase Bank U.S.A., N.A. (“Chase”). [See Exh A., Amended Complaint, Doc. No. 12-1] The letter offered to settle Lantry's $2, 212.73 balance due to Chase for $443.00, and it contained the following “disclosure”:

“If we settle this debt with you for less than the full outstanding balance, Chase may offer you less favorable terms in the future for some Chase products or services, or may deny your application.”

[See Id.; Plaintiff's Amended Complaint, Doc. No. 12, ¶ 14] The letter CSI sent Lantry is the only conduct or communication directed to her on which Lantry bases the FDCPA violations she alleges.

         II. Legal Standard

         “Judgment on the pleadings is appropriate when there are no material facts to resolve and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. The facts pleaded by the non-moving party must be accepted as true and all reasonable inferences from the pleadings should be taken in favor of the non-moving party. The court may consider the pleadings themselves, materials embraced by the pleadings, exhibits attached to the pleadings, and matters of public record.” Mills v. City of Grand Forks, 614 F.3d 495, 498 (8th Cir. 2010) (internal citations omitted).

         III. Discussion

         Lantry's Amended Complaint alleges that the letter she received from CSI gives rise to four counts of FDCPA violations. The letter itself is attached to the Amended Complaint as Exhibit A, and I may consider its contents when ruling on the Motion for a Judgment on the Pleadings. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 10(c); Brown v. Medtronic, Inc., 628 F.3d 451, 459-60 (8th Cir. 2010) (“documents attached to or incorporated within an amended complaint are considered part of the pleadings, and courts may look at such documents ‘for all purposes,' including to determine whether a plaintiff has stated a plausible claim.”) (internal citation omitted).

         In addition to the letter, the Amended Complaint is replete with conjecture and conclusory allegations that are styled as factual or plausible allegations. I will not address each conclusory allegation here, but, for example, they include:

• “The above quoted language improperly attempted to influence Plaintiff's thought process with regard to paying off the subject debt by informing her that it would be beneficial for her to pay the full amount she allegedly owed.” [Amended Complaint, Doc. No. 12, ¶ 31]
• “The letter is purposefully worded to avoid making the following clear statement: ‘if you pay the full amount owed, rather than the discounted settlement offer, Chase will offer you more favorable terms in the future for some Chase products or services.'” [Id. at ¶ 45]
• “When Chase presented the quoted language to Defendant and told Defendant to include it [sic] the subject form dunning letter, it was Chase's intention that this language would discourage recipients from ...

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