United States District Court, D. Maryland
K. Bredar United States District Judge
nine-count complaint, Plaintiff Michelle Davis alleged
Defendants Toyota Motor Credit Corporation
("TMCC"), Complete Auto Recovery Services, Inc.
d/b/a C.A.R.S. ("C.A.R.S"), Stewart Gray, and
Donald Gray committed various violations of Maryland
statutory and common law in relation to the repossession of
an automobile. (Compl., ECF No. 1.) Davis sought actual
damages, statutory remedies, and punitive damages.
(Id. Prayer for Relief.) Following TMCC's motion
to dismiss for failure to state a claim (Mot. Dismiss, ECF
No. 3), Davis filed an amended complaint against the same
Defendants (Am. Compl., ECF No. 7).
amended complaint, Davis brings the following counts:
• Count I - Breach of Peace in Seizing the Vehicle (All
• Count II - Conversion (All Defendants)
• Count III - Violation of Credit Grantor's Closed
End Credit Provisions (TMCC)
• Count IV - Violation of Maryland Consumer Debt
Collection Act (All Defendants)
• Count V - Violation of the Maryland Consumer
Protection Act (All Defendants)
• Count VI - Trespass to Chattels (All Defendants)
• Count VII - Trespass (All Defendants)
• Count VIII - Battery (All Defendants)
C.A.R.S., Stewart Gray, and Donald Gray (collectively,
"C.A.R.S. Defendants") filed an answer to
Davis's complaint. (ECF No. 9.) In response, Davis filed
a motion to strike the C.A.R.S. Defendants' affirmative
defenses. (ECF No. 11.) TMCC then filed a second motion to
dismiss that retained all relevant arguments from its first
motion to dismiss and provided argument on the new count of
trespass in the amended complaint. (2d Mot. Dismiss, ECF No.
14.) The various motions have been briefed (ECF Nos. 8, 13,
15, 17, 18), and no hearing is required, Local Rule 105.6 (D.
Md. 2016). TMCC's motions will be granted, and
Davis's motion to strike will be denied. The Court will
first address TMCC's motions to dismiss.
Standard of Dismissal for Failure to State a
complaint must contain "sufficient factual matter,
accepted as true, to 'state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal,
556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). Facial plausibility
exists "when the plaintiff pleads factual content that
allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the
defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged."
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. An inference of a mere
possibility of misconduct is not sufficient to support a
plausible claim. Id. at 679. As the Twombly
opinion stated, "Factual allegations must be enough to
raise a right to relief above the speculative level."
550 U.S. at 555. "A pleading that offers 'labels and
conclusions' or 'a formulaic recitation of the
elements of a cause of action will not do.' . . . Nor
does a complaint suffice if it tenders 'naked
assertions]' devoid of 'further factual
enhancement.'" Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678
(quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, 557). Although
when considering a motion to dismiss a court must accept as
true all factual allegations in the complaint, this principle
does not apply to legal conclusions couched as factual
allegations. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555.
Allegations of the Complaint
resides in Wicomico County, Maryland. (Am. Compl. ¶ 1.)
On or about November 1, 2012, Davis entered into a Retail
Installment Sale Contract ("RISC") with Pohanka TM
Inc. in Salisbury, Maryland, to finance a 2012 Toyota Camry.
(Id. ¶ 23.) Pohanka TM Inc. later assigned its
interest in the vehicle to TMCC. (Id. ¶ 25.)
Davis was required to make monthly installment payments of
$749.40 for sixty months beginning on December 16, 2012.
(Id. ¶ 26.) TMCC acquired a security interest
in the vehicle. (Id. ¶ 27.) The RISC elected
the Maryland Credit Grantors Closed End Credit Provisions
("CLEC") to govern the relationship between the
parties. (Id. ¶ 28.) TMCC concluded Davis was
behind on her payments under the RISC and, as a result,
"TMCC hired C.A.R.S. to repossess the vehicle."
(Id. ¶ 29.)
about October 21, 2013, "in response to . . . TMCC's
request, [Charles] Moor, as employee and/or agent of C.A.R.S.
went to . . . Davis' home [in Salisbury] . . . to
repossess Plaintiff's vehicle, " which was parked in
the driveway of Davis's home. (Id. ¶¶
30-31.) Moor was driving a tow truck, which he placed in
reverse gear and backed into Davis's driveway.
(Id. ¶¶ 32-33.) "Moor failed to stop
his tow truck in time and crashed into the rear end of the
vehicle . . . ." (Id. ¶ 34.) After hearing
a loud noise, Davis exited her house and saw the damage the
tow truck had caused to the vehicle. (Id. ¶
36.) "Davis was squatting in the grass in her front yard
when she was approached by Moor[, who] . . . began screaming
obscenities at Davis while walking across Davis' front
yard." (Id. ¶¶ 38-39.) "Moor
began striking Davis on her body with a red object that
appeared to be a metal pipe." (Id. ¶ 40.)
"Moor struck Davis several times on her body with the
object[, causing] . . . Davis to fall down to the
ground." (Id. ¶¶ 41-42.) "Davis
screamed in pain for help while Moor was attacking her."
(Id. ¶ 43.) She "maneuvered away from Moor
and stood up on her feet[, but o]n two different occasions,
Moor pushed Davis back down onto the ground"; on one of
those occasions, "Moor pushed Davis down onto a brick
border and struck her head violently against it."
(Id. ¶¶ 44-46.)
seeing Davis' brother exit the house and approach the
vehicle, Moor ran away down the street . . . ."
(Id. ¶ 47.) A few minutes later, "while
Davis was being treated for medical injuries, Defendant
Stewart Gray arrived at Davis' house to complete the
repossession"; he "took the keys to the vehicle,
unlocked the vehicle, turned the vehicle on and drove the
vehicle out of Davis' driveway and onto the street."
(Id. ¶¶ 48-49.) "Moor arrived back to
Davis' house and hooked up ...