United States District Court, W.D. Tennessee, Western Division
H. MAYS, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Benjamin Fish brings this action against Defendant Stone,
Higgs & Drexler, P.C., alleging violation of Section
1692(i) of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
(“FDCPA”). Before the Court are three motions.
is Defendant's July 12, 2017 Motion for Summary Judgment.
(ECF No. 17; see also ECF No. 17-1.) Plaintiff responded on
August 9, 2017. (ECF No. 23.) Defendant replied on August 23,
2017. (ECF No. 25.)
is Defendant's July 12, 2017 Motion for Rule 11 Sanctions
Against Plaintiff's Counsel (“Rule 11
Motion”). (ECF No. 18; see ECF No. 18-1.) Plaintiff
responded on July 26, 2017. (ECF No. 22.)
is Plaintiff's July 26, 2017 Motion for Partial Summary
Judgment. (ECF No. 20.) Defendant responded on August 23,
2017. (ECF No. 24.) Plaintiff replied on September 6, 2017.
(ECF No. 26.)
following reasons, Defendant's Motion for Summary
Judgment is GRANTED. Plaintiff's Motion for Partial
Summary Judgment and Defendant's Rule 11 Motion are
relevant times, Plaintiff resided in Horn Lake, Mississippi.
(ECF No. 24-1 at 285.) Plaintiff received a loan from Pioneer
Credit Company (“Pioneer”). (ECF No. 21-1 at
183.) The loan was issued in the form of a check, which was
mailed to Plaintiff's home. (Id. at 183-84.)
After receiving the check, Plaintiff went to a bank branch in
Horn Lake, endorsed the check, and cashed it. (Id.
November 13, 2014, Pioneer filed an action against Plaintiff
in the DeSoto County Justice Court in Southaven, Mississippi,
to collect on the loan. (ECF No. 21-2 at 189-90.) Plaintiff
was given the opportunity to defend against the action, but
did not. (ECF No. 23-1 at 250.) On December 19, 2014, Pioneer
obtained a judgment against Plaintiff in the amount of $1,
513.00. (ECF No. 24-1 at 191.)
4, 2015, Defendant filed a Notice of Filing of Foreign
Judgment in the Circuit Court of Tennessee for the Thirtieth
Judicial District at Memphis on behalf of Pioneer. (ECF No.
17-4 at 83.) The Notice sought to enforce the Mississippi
judgment against Plaintiff. (Id. at 83-84.) On
February 11, 2016, the Circuit Court of Tennessee issued a
summons requiring Plaintiff to answer or object to the
judgment against him within thirty days. (ECF No. 21-3 at
203.) Should Plaintiff fail, “the Clerk may issue
execution on the foreign judgment against [Plaintiff].”
(Id.) Plaintiff was served with the summons on March
7, 2016. (ECF No. 23-1 at 252; ECF No. 17-6 at 95.) Plaintiff
did not answer or object.
16, 2016, the Circuit Court entered an Order Authenticating
and Enrolling Foreign Judgement. (ECF No. 17-7.) The Order
authenticated the Mississippi judgment “[in] the sum of
$1, 676.50, including interest at 5.25 percent per annum
through the date of the entry of this order, and 10 percent
interest post-judgment.” (Id.)
August 22, 2016, Defendant asked the Circuit Court to issue a
writ of fieri facias -- a document allowing the county
sheriff to seize Plaintiff's assets in the amount of the
judgment -- and asked the Court to “[l]evy execution on
the wages of [Plaintiff].” (ECF No. 21-3 at 208-10; ECF
No. 17-9 at 101.) On September 20, 2016, a Notice of
Garnishment was served on Plaintiff's then-current
employer, Radial. (ECF No. 23-1 at 252; ECF No. 17-9 at 101.)
On October 20, 2016, Radial filed its Answer of Garnishee for
Wages and Salary. (ECF No. 23-1 at 252; ECF No. 17-10 at
104.) On March 7, 2017, Defendant informed the Circuit Court
that the judgment against Plaintiff had been satisfied on
February 17, 2017. (ECF No. 23-1 at 215.)
February 10, 2017, Plaintiff filed this Complaint against
Defendant alleging violation of Section § 1692i of the
FDCPA. (ECF No. 1 at 1.)
Court has federal-question jurisdiction. Under 28 U.S.C.
§ 1331, U.S. district courts have original jurisdiction
“of all civil actions arising under the Constitution,
laws, or treaties of the United States.” The Complaint
asserts that Defendant “violated 15 U.S.C. §
1692i(a)(2) by bringing a legal action on a debt against
Plaintiff . . . where the action was not brought in the
judicial district . . . where Plaintiff resides or signed the
contract creating the Debt.” (ECF No. 1 at 6.) That
claim arises under the laws of the United
Standard of Review
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56, a court shall grant a
party's motion for summary judgment “if the movant
shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material
fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of
law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The moving party can meet
this burden by pointing out to the court that the nonmoving
party, having had sufficient opportunity for discovery, has
no evidence to support an essential element of his case. See
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1); Asbury v. Teodosio, 412 F.
App'x 786, 791 (6th Cir. 2011) (citing Celotex Corp.
v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986)).
confronted with a properly-supported motion for summary
judgment, the nonmoving party must set forth specific facts
showing that there is a genuine dispute for trial. See
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). “A genuine dispute exists when the
plaintiff presents significant probative evidence on which a
reasonable jury could return a verdict for her.”
EEOC v. Ford Motor Co., 782 F.3d
753, 760 (6th Cir. 2015) (quotation marks
omitted). The nonmoving party must do more than simply
“‘show that there is some metaphysical doubt as
to the material facts.'” Adcor Indus., Inc. v.
Bevcorp, LLC, 252 F. App'x 55, 61 (6th Cir. 2007)
(quoting Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio
Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986)).
may not oppose a properly supported summary judgment motion
by mere reliance on the pleadings. See Beckett v.
Ford, 384 F. App'x 435, 443 (6th Cir. 2010) (citing
Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 324). Instead, the nonmoving party
must adduce concrete evidence on which a reasonable juror
could return a verdict in his favor. Stalbosky v.
Belew, 205 F.3d 890, 895 (6th Cir. 2000); see
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1). The court does not have the duty to
search the record for such evidence. See Fed.R.Civ.P.
56(c)(3); InterRoyal Corp. v. Sponseller, 889 F.2d
108, 111 (6th Cir. 1989).
summary judgment must be used carefully, it “is an
integral part of the Federal Rules as a whole, which are
designed to secure the just, speedy, and inexpensive
determination of every action[, ] rather than a disfavored
procedural shortcut.” FDIC v. Jeff Miller
Stables, 573 F.3d 289, 294 (6th Cir. 2009) (quotation
marks and citations omitted).
standard remains the same when both parties move for summary
judgment. Taft Broad. Co. v. United States, 929 F.2d
240, 248 (6th Cir. 1991). “When reviewing cross-motions
for summary judgment, the court must evaluate each motion on
its own merits and view all facts and inferences in the light
most favorable to the nonmoving party.” Wiley v.
United States (In re Wiley), 20 F.3d 222, 224 (6th Cir.
Rule of Civil Procedure 11(b) provides that, when an attorney
signs a written motion or pleading, the attorney certifies
that the claims made therein are warranted by existing law or
are nonfrivolous arguments to extend, modify, or reverse
existing law. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 11(b). The purpose of Rule 11
is to deter baseless filings. Cooter & Gell v.
Hartmarx Corp., 496 U.S. 384, 393 (1990).
test for the imposition of Rule 11 sanctions is whether the
individual's conduct was reasonable under the
circumstances.” Tropf v. Fidelity Nat'l Title
Ins. Co., 289 F.3d 929, 939 (6th Cir. 2002). Rule 11
“stresses the need for some prefiling inquiry into both
the facts and the law to satisfy the affirmative duty imposed
by the rule.” Albright v. Upjohn, 788 F.2d
1217, 1221 (6th Cir. 1986). Rule 11 permits sanctions if
“a reasonable inquiry discloses the pleading, motion,
or paper is (1) not well grounded in fact, (2) not warranted
by existing law or a good faith argument for the extension,
modification or reversal of existing law, or (3) interposed
for any improper purpose such as harassment or delay.”
Merritt v. Int'l Ass'n of Machinists &
Aerospace Workers, 613 F.3d 609, 626 (6th Cir. 2010)
(internal quotations marks and citation omitted).