United States District Court, D. Maryland, Southern Division
J. HAZEL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Steven Sloan brings this pro se action against
Defendant Ally Financial Inc. in connection with an alleged
debt. ECF No. 1-1 at 85. Pending before the Court is
Defendant's Motion to Dismiss. ECF No. 9. No. hearing is
necessary. See Loc. R. 105.6 (D. Md. 2016). Because
the Complaint is insufficient and does not comply with
federal pleading requirements, Defendant's Motion to
Dismiss will be granted.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8, a Complaint shall contain
“a short and plain statement of the claim showing that
the pleader is entitled to relief, ” and “each
allegation must be simple, concise, and direct.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a); Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(d)(1). Further, to state a
claim that survives a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, a complaint,
relying on only well-pled factual allegations, must state at
least a “plausible claim for relief.”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679 (2009). The
“mere recital of elements of a cause of action,
supported only by conclusory statements, is not sufficient to
survive a motion made pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6).”
Walters v. McMahen, 684 F.3d 435, 439 (4th Cir.
2012). To determine whether a claim has crossed “the
line from conceivable to plausible, ” the Court must
employ a “context-specific inquiry, ” drawing on
the court's “experience and common sense.”
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679-80. When performing this
inquiry, the Court accepts “all well-pled facts as true
and construes these facts in the light most favorable to the
plaintiff in weighing the legal sufficiency of the
complaint.” Nemet Chevrolet, Ltd. v.
Consumeraffairs.com, Inc., 591 F.3d 250, 255 (4th Cir.
2009). The Court need not, however, accept unsupported legal
allegations, Revene v. Charles Cnty. Comm'rs,
882 F.2d 870, 873 (4th Cir. 1989), nor must it agree with
legal conclusions couched as factual allegations,
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678, or 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, 193 (4th Cir. 2009). “[U]nadorned, the
defendant-unlawfully-harmed me accusation[s]” or
“naked assertions devoid of further factual
enhancement” do not suffice. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
at 678. Although the Court must accept well-pleaded factual
allegations in the Complaint as true, the Court is “not
bound to accept as true a legal conclusion couched as a
factual allegation, ” and “[t]hreadbare recitals
of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere
conclusory statements, do not suffice” and “are
not entitled to the assumption of truth.” Id.
se complaints must be construed liberally and must be
“held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings
drafted by lawyers.” Erickson v. Pardus, 551
U.S. 89, 94 (2007). However, “[p]rinciples requiring
generous construction of pro se complaints are not .
. . without limits.” Beauciett v. City of
Hampton, 775 F.2d 1274, 1278 (4th Cir. 1985). Courts are
not required to “conjure up questions never squarely
presented to them” nor “construct full blown
claims from sentence fragments.” Id.
of a concise statement of facts as to the underlying causes
of action, Plaintiff's allegations are difficult to
understand, contained in various documents attached to the
Complaint, and replete with legal statements and conclusions.
ECF No. 1-1. For example, Plaintiff alleges a Fair Debt
Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) claim pursuant to 15 U.S.C.
§ 1692 but does not allege facts to show a violation of
the statute. “To state a claim for relief under the
FDCPA, Plaintiffs must allege that (1) they have been the
object of collection activity arising from consumer debt, (2)
the defendant is a debt collector as defined by the FDCPA,
and (3) the defendant has engaged in an act or omission
prohibited by the FDCPA.” Stewart v. Bierman,
859 F.Supp.2d 754, 759-760 (D. Md. 2012). However, Plaintiff
offers only a naked assertion that Defendant “appears
to be a ‘debt collector' as the term is
defined” under the FDCPA without grappling with the
factual allegations that belie this conclusion. ECF No. 1-1
at 5. Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that on May 8, 2014, he
entered into a $22, 294.11 Retail Installment Sales Contract
(RISC) with Defendant to purchase a 2008 Cadillac CTS. ECF
No. 1-1 at 85; see also Id. at 30. The FDCPA defines
the term “debt collector” as “(1) a person
whose principal purpose is to collect debts; (2) a person who
regularly collects debts owed to another; or (3) a person who
collects its own debts, using a name other than its own as if
it were a debt collector.” Henson v. Santander
Consumer USA, Inc., 817 F.3d 131, 136 (4th Cir. 2016);
see also 15 U.S.C. § 1692a(6). Based on
Plaintiff's allegations, the Defendant does not meet any
of these definitions because Ally seeks to collect its own
debt rather than a debt “owed to another” and is
acting as a creditor, not “a person whose principal
purpose is to collect debts.” Id.
Plaintiff refers to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 U.S.C.
§ 1681, et seq., without alleging that he has
been aggrieved under this statute. For Plaintiff to allege a
failure to comply with the FCRA's reinvestigation
requirement, he must have pled facts establishing (1) that he
notified a credit reporting agency (CRA) of the disputed
information, (2) that the CRA notified the Defendant
furnisher of the dispute, and (3) that the furnisher then
failed to reasonably investigate and modify the inaccurate
information. Johnson v. MBNA Am Bank, NA, 357 F.3d
426, 430-31 (4th Cir. 2004). The Complaint does not include
allegations that Plaintiff went through this process or that
Ally failed to investigate a dispute after receiving notice
of one from a CRA. See ECF No. 1-1. Additionally,
where the Complaint does assert factual allegations, those
allegations do not lead to the conclusion that
Plaintiff's rights were violated. For example, Plaintiff
alleges that Ally has conducted “impermissible credit
pulls.” ECF No. 1-1 at 6. Section 1681b of the FCRA
permits a CRA to provide credit information to a person whom
the agency has reason to believe “intends to use the
information in connection with a credit transaction involving
the consumer . . . .” 15 U.S.C. § 1681b(a)(3)(A).
Plaintiff attaches the RISC to the Complaint and alleges that
Defendant “accepted a ‘promissory note' for
$22, 294.11” on May 8, 2014, meaning any inquiry by
Defendant into Plaintiff's credit report would fit within
this permissible purpose.
also makes references to the Internal Revenue Code and to
various provisions of the Uniform Commercial Code. However,
these allegations ultimately amount to “unadorned, the
defendant-unlawfully-harmed me accusations” that are
“devoid of further factual enhancement.”
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.
Plaintiff has failed to provide a short and plain statement
of his claims showing that he is entitled to relief,
Defendant's Motion to ...