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Carlisle v. Portfolio Recovery Associates, Inc.

United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee, Chattanooga

September 29, 2014

MARCUS DAWANELL CARLISLE, Plaintiff,
v.
PORTFOLIO RECOVERY ASSOCIATES, INC., d/b/a Portfolio Recovery Associates, LLC Defendant.

MEMORANDUM

CURTIS L. COLLIER, District Judge.

Before the Court are a motion to dismiss by the defendant and a motion for summary judgment by the plaintiff. Defendant Portfolio Recovery Associates ("Defendant") filed a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) (Court File No. 7). Plaintiff Marcus Dawanell Carlisle ("Plaintiff") filed a response to Defendant's motion (Court File No. 11). Defendant then filed a reply (Court File No. 12). While the motion to dismiss was pending, Plaintiff moved for summary judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 (Court File No. 14). Defendant responded in opposition (Court File No. 15). For the following reasons, the Court will GRANT Defendant's motion to dismiss, and DENY AS MOOT Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment.

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff filed a complaint alleging violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act ("FCRA"), 15 U.S.C. § 1681 and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act ("FDCPA"), 15 U.S.C. § 1692 (Court File No. 2). Specifically, Plaintiff alleges Defendant, a debt collection company, sought to obtain Plaintiff's consumer report without a permissible purpose, "falsely represent[ed] the character amount or legal status of any debt, " attempted to collect debt not authorized by the debt agreement, and continued collection activity despite notice of a dispute (Court File No. 2). He also seeks to recover an amount he claims to have paid through two bonds he sent to Defendant.

Plaintiff attached to his complaint the two alleged bonds (Court File No. 2-1) as well as documents reflecting that Defendant had made inquiries as to Plaintiff's credit report (Court File No. 2-2). These bonds refer to Plaintiff as a "Titled Sovereign" and "copyrighted fiction" and provides that the bonds are "mandated by PUBLIC POLICY through the Bureau of Public Debt." (Court File No. 2-1). While purporting to "discharge all debt" the bonds also state that "no lawful money of account exists in circulation and in consideration thereof I have suffered dishonor..." (Court File No. 2-1).

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

A Rule 12(b)(6) motion should be granted when it appears "beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief." Lewis v. ACB Bus. Servs., Inc., 135 F.3d 389, 405 (6th Cir. 1998). For purposes of this determination, the Court construes the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff and assumes the veracity of all well-pleaded factual allegations in the complaint. Thurman v. Pfizer, Inc., 484 F.3d 855, 859 (6th Cir. 2007). The same deference does not extend to bare assertions of legal conclusions, however, and the court is "not bound to accept as true a legal conclusion couched as a factual allegation." Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 286 (1986).

The Court next considers whether the factual allegations, if true, would support a claim entitling the plaintiff to relief. Thurman, 484 F.3d at 859. Although a complaint need only contain a "short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, " Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 677-78 (2009) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)), this statement must nevertheless contain "factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Id. "[T]o survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Id. (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). Plausibility as explained by the Court "is not akin to a probability requirement, ' but it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). "[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.'" Id. at 679 (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)).

III. DISCUSSION

A. Recovery of Bonds

In the Final Count of Plaintiff's Complaint, [1] Plaintiff demands return of money he allegedly paid to Defendant by way of two bonds. Defendant contends that no money was in fact transferred and that the bonds are "bogus" (Court File No. 8). Upon review of these documents, the Court agrees with Defendant. The alleged bonds are replete with nonsensical legal jargon. As noted above, the bonds refer to Plaintiff as a "Titled Sovereign" and "copyrighted fiction" and provides that the bonds are "mandated by PUBLIC POLICY through the Bureau of Public Debt." While purporting to "discharge all debt" the bonds also somewhat incomprehensibly state that "no lawful money of account exists in circulation and in consideration thereof I have suffered dishonor..." (Court File No. 2). There is no question that the bonds are frivolous and do not establish that any money has been paid by Plaintiff to Defendant. Accordingly, the Court will DISMISS the count requesting return of the alleged bond proceeds.

B. FCRA Violations

Counts One, Two, and Three of Plaintiff's Complaint allege Defendant "violated, " "willfully violated, " and "negligently violated" 15 U.S.C. § 1681b(f) of the FCRA"by obtaining Plaintiff's consumer report without a permissible purpose" (Court File No. 2 ¶¶ 18, 22, 26). Because the allegations cannot establish any violation, the Counts will be treated together.

Section 1681b(f) provides that "[a] person shall not use or obtain a consumer report... unless the report is obtained for a purpose for which the consumer report is authorized to be furnished under this section." Section 1681b(a) sets out a series of circumstances under which a consumer reporting agency may furnish a consumer report. One such permissible circumstance is providing the report "to ...


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