United States District Court, D. Maryland
JEFFREY M. YOUNG-BEY, Plaintiff,
SOUTHERN MANAGEMENT CORPORATION, INC. and DAYE AMBERSLEY, Prop. Mgr., Defendants.
THEODORE D. CHUANG, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Jeffrey M. Young-Bey, who is self-represented, has filed a
civil action challenging the practices of his apartment
building's management company, Southern Management
Corporation ("SMC"), and its property manager, Daye
Ambersley. Young-Bey has asserted 21 causes of action under
federal and state law, including claims under the Fair Debt
Collection Practices Act ("FDCPA"), 15 U.S.C.
§§ 1692-1692p (2012); the Fair Housing Act
("FHA"), 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601-3619 (2012);
the Maryland Consumer Debt Collection Act, Md. Code Ann.,
Com. Law, § 14-202 (West 2013); the Maryland Consumer
Protection Act, Md. Code Ann., Com. Law, § 13-301; the
Maryland Collection Agency Licensing Act, Md. Code Ann., Bus.
Reg. § 7 (West 2010); and various state common law tort
claims. Pending before the Court is Defendants' Motion to
Dismiss. Having reviewed the submitted materials, the Court
finds that no hearing is necessary. See D. Md. Local
R. 105.6. For the reasons set forth below, the Motion will be
following facts are presented in the light most favorable to
Young-Bey, the non-moving party.
February 2018, Young-Bey entered into a one-year lease
agreement for an apartment at Silver Spring Towers on Thayer
Avenue in Silver Spring, Maryland. After moving into the
apartment, Young-Bey complained to SMC, the property
management company, about several defects in his apartment,
including plumbing and heating problems, only some of which
were addressed. SMC also barred Young-Bey from making rental
payments through its online payment portal. Young-Bey alleges
that, following these events, Defendants engaged in unlawful
debt collection practices and initiated a series of unlawful
eviction and debt collection proceedings against him in the
District Court of Maryland for Montgomery County ("the
Montgomery County District Court") on April 12, 2018,
July 9, 2018, July 11, 2018, and July 26, 2018.
30, 2018, Young-Bey filed his Complaint in this Court. In
October 2018, Young-Bey filed a Motion for a Temporary
Restraining Order or Preliminary Injunction in which he
requested that the Court enjoin eviction proceedings in
Montgomery County District Court. After ordering and
receiving a response from Defendants, the Court construed the
motion as a Motion for a Preliminary Injunction and denied
it. See Young-Bey v. S. Mgmt. Corp., Inc., No.
TDC-18-2331, 2018 WL 4922349, at *3 (D. Md. Oct. 10, 2018).
Then, after being formally served with the Summons and
Complaint, Defendants filed the pending Motion to Dismiss.
Nearly two months later and several weeks after the deadline
for opposing the Motion had passed, Young-Bey filed on
February 11, 2019 a Motion for Extension of Time to File
Opposition to Defendants' Motion to Dismiss. The Court
granted Young-Bey until March 15, 2019 to file an amended
complaint or respond to the pending Motion. On March 18,
2019, Young-Bey again moved for an extension of time to
respond. The Court again granted Young-Bey an extension,
until April 1, 2019, to file his response. Despite these
extensions, Young-Bey never filed an amended complaint or a
memorandum in opposition to Defendants' Motion to
seek dismissal of Young-Bey's Complaint for failure to
state a claim pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6). They argue that: (1) Young-Bey has not pleaded
sufficient facts to demonstrate that Defendants are debt
collectors subject to the FDCPA; (2) Young-Bey has not stated
sufficient facts to state a plausible claim that Defendants
acted with discriminatory intent in violation of the FHA; and
(3) if the federal claims are dismissed, the Court should
decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over
Young-Bey's state law claims. Because the Court agrees
with these arguments, it need not address Defendants'
remaining arguments that Young-Bey's state law claims
should be dismissed on the merits.
defeat a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), the complaint
must allege enough facts to state a plausible claim for
relief. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).
A claim is plausible when the facts pleaded allow "the
Court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is
liable for the misconduct alleged." Id.
Although courts should construe pleadings of self-represented
litigants liberally, Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S.
89, 94 (2007), legal conclusions or conclusory statements do
not suffice, Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. The Court must
examine the complaint as a whole, consider the factual
allegations in the complaint as true, and construe the
factual allegations in the light most favorable to the
plaintiff. Albright v. Oliver, 510 U.S. 266, 268
(1994); Lambeth v. Bd. of Comm'rs of Davidson
Cty., 407 F.3d 266, 268 (4th Cir. 2005).
deciding a motion to dismiss, a court may "take judicial
notice of matters of public record" and may consider
exhibits submitted with the motion "so long as they are
integral to the complaint and authentic." Philips v.
Pitt Cty. Mem'l Hosp., 572 F.3d 176, 180 (4th Cir.
2009). With their Motion, Defendants have submitted the
following extrinsic exhibits: (1) the lease governing
Young-Beyss tenancy at Silver Spring Towers; and (2) a
printout from a Maryland state government website containing
background information about SMC. The Court will consider the
lease because it is cited in the Complaint as the document
governing the parties' relationship and is integral to
Young-Bey's allegations. However, the website information
relating to SMC is not integral to the Complaint, so the
Court will not consider it in deciding Defendants'
argue that Young-Bey's FDCPA claims should be dismissed
because Defendants are not "debt collectors" and
therefore are not subject to the FDCPA. The FDCPA protects
consumers from "abusive debt collection practices"
by prohibiting debt collectors from using "any false,
deceptive, or misleading representation or means in
connection with the collection of any debt." 15 U.S.C.
§§ 1692(e), 1692e. However, the statute only
applies to a "debt collector," 15 U.S.C.
§§ 1692b-1692g, 1692k(a), defined as any person who
uses interstate commerce "or the mails in any business
the principal purpose of which is the collection of any
debts," or "who regularly collects or attempts to
collect, directly or indirectly, debts owed or due or
asserted to be owed or due another," § 1692a(6).
With few exceptions, these requirement's do not apply to
a "creditor," defined by the FDCPA as one "who
offers or extends credit creating a debt or to whom a debt is
owed." 15 U.S.C. § 1692a(4); see Henson v.
Santander Consumer USA, Inc., 817 F.3d 131, 135-36 (4th
Cir. 2016). Thus, the primary distinction between a debt
collector and a creditor is that a debt collector
"collects debt on behalf of others," while
a creditor collects debt "for its own account."
Henson, 817 F.3d at 135.
Young-Bey has failed to provide any allegations in his
Complaint that SMC is collecting a debt for a third party and
thus is a debt collector subject to the FDCPA. Defendants, in
contrast, state that SMC is an owner-operated property
management company whose primary business is managing
properties as a landlord, which the lease confirms by listing
SMC as the lessor and Young-Bey as the lessee. Indeed,
Young-Bey acknowledges in the Complaint that SMC was a party
to the lease. Where SMC is a party to the lease contract and
seeks to collect debts in the form of rent, those debts ...