United States District Court, D. Maryland
KUKIA R. FARRISH
NAVY FEDERAL CREDIT UNION
DEBORAH K. CHASANOW United States District Judge.
pending and ready for resolution is the motion to dismiss
filed by Defendant Navy Federal Credit Union
(“Defendant”). (ECF No. 13). The issues have been
briefed, and the court now rules, no hearing being deemed
necessary. Local Rule 105.6. For the following reasons, the
motion to dismiss will be granted.
Kukia Farrish (“Plaintiff”) filed a complaint
against Defendant in the District Court of Maryland for
Prince George's County on April 8, 2016. (ECF No. 2). The
only details provided in Plaintiff's complaint are the
following “particulars of this case”:
Credit card (Cash Rewards Card) payments weren't applied
properly excessive interest Broken FDCPA laws on collection
Calls (TCPA) harassing me false credit report reported
Financial theft ATM deposit wasn't properly inputed
los[s] of $300 for Clinton branch threatened to close my
account and they did. They caused me pain and suffering and
(Id.). Defendant removed the case to federal court
because the complaint appears to allege violations of federal
statutes, specifically the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
(“FDCPA”), 15 U.S.C. § 1692, and the
Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”), 47
U.S.C. § 227. (ECF No. 1, at 2). Defendant filed its
motion to dismiss on May 19. (ECF No. 13). Plaintiff
responded (ECF No. 15), and Defendant replied (ECF No. 16).
Standard of Review
purpose of a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) is to test
the sufficiency of the complaint. Presley v. City of
Charlottesville, 464 F.3d 480, 483 (4th Cir.
2006). A complaint need only satisfy the standard of Rule
8(a), which requires a “short and plain statement of
the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to
relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). “Rule 8(a)(2)
still requires a ‘showing, ' rather than a blanket
assertion, of entitlement to relief.” Bell Atl.
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 n.3 (2007). That
showing must consist of more than “a formulaic
recitation of the elements of a cause of action” or
“naked assertion[s] devoid of further factual
enhancement.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009) (citations omitted).
stage, all well-pleaded allegations in the complaint must be
considered as true, Albright v. Oliver, 510 U.S.
266, 268 (1994), and all factual allegations must be
construed in the light most favorable to the plaintiff.
See Harrison v. Westinghouse Savannah River Co., 176
F.3d 776, 783 (4th Cir. 1999) (citing Mylan
Labs., Inc. v. Matkari, 7 F.3d 1130, 1134
(4th Cir. 1993)); Brockington v. Boykins,
637 F.3d 503, 505-06 (4th Cir. 2011). In
evaluating the complaint, unsupported legal allegations need
not be accepted. Revene v. Charles Cty. Comm'rs,
882 F.2d 870, 873 (4th Cir. 1989). Legal
conclusions couched as factual allegations are insufficient,
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678, as are conclusory factual
allegations devoid of any reference to actual events.
United Black Firefighters v. Hirst, 604 F.2d 844,
847 (4th Cir. 1979); see also Francis v.
Giacomelli, 588 F.3d 186, 192 (4th Cir.
2009). “[W]here the well-pleaded facts do not permit
the court to infer more than the mere possibility of
misconduct, the complaint has alleged, but it has not
‘show[n] that the pleader is entitled to
relief.'” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679 (quoting
Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)). Thus, “[d]etermining whether a
complaint states a plausible claim for relief will . . . be a
context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to
draw on its judicial experience and common sense.”
pro se pleadings are liberally construed and held to
a less stringent standard than pleadings drafted by lawyers.
Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (quoting
Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976));
Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972). Liberal
construction means that the court will read the pleadings to
state a valid claim to the extent that it is possible to do
so from the facts available; it does not mean that the court
should rewrite the complaint to include claims never
presented. Barnett v. Hargett, 174 F.3d 1128, 1132
(10th Cir. 1999). That is, even when pro
se litigants are involved, the court cannot ignore a
clear failure to allege facts that support a viable claim.
Weller v. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 901 F.2d 387,
391 (4th Cir. 1990); Forquer v. Schlee,
No. RDB-12-969, 2012 WL 6087491, at *3 (D.Md. Dec. 4, 2012)
(citation and internal quotation marks omitted)
(“[E]ven a pro se complaint must be dismissed
if it does not allege a plausible claim for relief.”).
court has examined the Complaint and finds that it does not
comply with federal pleading requirements. It is well-settled
law that the allegations in a complaint must “give the
defendant fair notice of what the plaintiff's claim is
and the grounds upon which it rests.” Swierkiewicz
v. Sorema N. A., 534 U.S. 506, 512 (2002) (internal
quotation marks omitted). Instead of a concise statement of
facts underlying her cause of action, the Complaint contains
a list of unsupported conclusions. Even after affording the
matter a generous construction, the court cannot determine
the precise nature of Plaintiff's claims. Responding to
Defendant's motion to dismiss, Plaintiff has provided
information that is somewhat more detailed. (ECF No. 15, at
1-3). However, “it is axiomatic that the complaint may
not be amended by the briefs in opposition to a motion to
dismiss.” Mylan Labs., Inc. v. Akzo, N.V., 770
F.Supp. 1053, 1068 (D.Md. 1991) (quoting Car Carriers,
Inc. v. Ford Motor Co., 745 F.2d 1101 (7th
Cir. 1984)); see Zachair Ltd. v. Driggs, 965 F.Supp.
741, 748 n.4 (D.Md. 1997) (stating that the plaintiff
“is bound by the allegations contained in its complaint
and cannot, through the use of motion briefs, amend the
complaint”), aff'd, 141 F.3d 1162
(4th Cir. 1998).
Defendant's motion to dismiss will be granted, and the
court will allow Plaintiff to file an amended complaint.
Should Plaintiff file an amended complaint, she must identify
each of the laws and federal statutes on which this civil
action is predicated and what specific acts or omissions by
Defendant allegedly violated those laws. She is reminded to
put the same case number on any amended complaint.